By CTA—Christ to All
Many studies throughout the years link play and healthy childhood development. According to an article by the American Academy of Pediatrics, play has many forms, and used together, they have the power to instill creativity, problem-solving skills, social skills, and coordination in children, beginning as early as one year of age. While the definition of play changes based on the age of the child, children who are four to six years old benefit when you do the following:
- Give them opportunities to sing and dance.
- Include story time with questions about what the children remember from the story.
- Encourage interacting with friends to practice socializing and friendship.
- Get them moving with physical activity, including running around where possible. In addition, inside physical play—hopping on one foot, dancing, and exaggerated arm movements—can be incorporated into games that keep them moving and encourage laughter and fun along the way.
As you plan for your Easter activities this year, outdoor activities for the kids can help cut through the COVID-19 concerns (but always follow your area guidelines). An Easter egg hunt has long been a staple of churches at Easter, but if you turn it into an event with multiple stations, the variety of play increases and the children’s ability to remember the key faith facts does as well.
A story-time station with a book that shares the Easter message provides a chance to instill that message and ask them a few questions about what they learned.
Placing children in partnerships to hunt for eggs gets them moving and helps reinforce socialization and friendship skills.
Providing a station with small toy instruments to encourage children to sing and dance and share their joy on Easter is great fun. Using familiar songs, with words changed to match the Easter story makes it even more fun!
A craft or coloring station helps encourage creativity and dexterity.
Hosting a parent’s area will also provide additional social time for the parents in close proximity to their children. While not every parent will want to stay for the event, for those who do, having a preplanned area with bottled drinks and seating will be welcome. Don’t forget to have a few volunteers who are good at conversing with people, circulating, and making sure the parents are invited to engage with their kids when it’s appropriate (at the craft or coloring station and musical station, for instance—adding dancing with the parents could be great fun for everyone!).
Whatever your plans, make it memorable by incorporating specific elements of play, and help each child remember the Gospel message.
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