Making service and giving easier for the under 5s

Holiday time is often the time we remember service and giving activities. Maybe it is the thought of all the incoming gifts into our full homes or the awareness of those who have little or are going without.

Overburdening our children with adult issues is something we’ve really struggled with as a family to come to some sort of agreement on what to talk about with service and charitable giving. So we’re not overburdening them.  We’ve enjoyed new iniatives like working with ONE.org.

We want them to be world aware but the news is often inappropriate for the under 5s or young children to understand without lots of talk.So MaryAnn’s question in our cross blog conversation really made me stop, think and begin to do more than see this as a problem.

How can we use charitable opportunities to encourage global understanding?

Here are four ways you can ease into charitable opportunities, servicing and giving activities with your under 5s with a global perspective

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Using maps for big and small

Maps are fascinating.

I was excited to get the question :  How do you use maps in your home? from MaryAnne and our cross blog conversation. (See the bottom of this post for more information)

It’s never too young to start looking at a map together and just getting to know what’s there. We’re big fans of maps and include them in everyday things. Today we did an activity using maps.

We spent a good time just talking about the map. I started with the general question what can you see? It’s a fascinating opening question to see the baseline. The LO pointed out quite a few things. We have a US, World and Flag place mats in our rotation of place mats so he’s likely picked up information then as we’ve talked about places at dinner. It’s an easy way to map play and develop global knowledge.

Today we were focusing on the sizes: big and little using frames. The LO moved the frames around the map.

Keeping activities fun

I’d seen an activity about Pin punching around Africa. It looked like a really exciting way to combine a few things we’ve been working on. I loved the idea of the opportunity for focus, concentration. Plus, how exciting is it for a little boy to be using a pin and being able to poke!

My son is favouring his left hand and the added bonus of the fine motor skills, strength and persistence mean that this would be an exciting way to explore the idea of big and little.

We gathered together our materials and set about finding a small place and a large place on the map. I did mention that Africa was a continent and not a country. Having a political map helped with that as he could see the other lines of the countries. He also tried to pin down those lines, when he was distracted.

The spontaneous conversation with Australia was there too. He was quick to point out no lines and how it was fat but small. So he was able to compare the different sizes of land mass. I love the conversations that happen while we’re playing together.

 

Being a sensory seeker- the LO was keen to touchwhat he was doing. So he traced the map with his fingers first and was keen to do again on the other side where it was bumpy, quite a few times.

We started with Africa and worked together taking turns to pin around the land mass. We didn’t get all of Africa and didn’t follow it perfectly.

We did the big reveal at the end. He was impressed and was quick to compare both the new dotted map and the original map. He was very excited for me to set up Australia and keen to do it all alone.

He totally loved this activity and while I was making tea set himself up on the table to do another country. He was happy telling his older brothers about big and little places.

Cross blog conversation

I’m having a cross blog conversation with Mama Smiles about bringing global local to our homes without going anywhere. Plus integrating global ideas into our everyday interactions without it being a festival or special day.

A cross blog conversation involves two or more bloggers engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue across a series of blog posts. The goal is to ask – and answer – thought-provoking questions in order to share useful information with our readers.

Our first question: What global games do you play or have influenced you?    My response :: Mama Smiles

Our Second question:  How do you use maps in your home?

Come back and tell us what you do with maps. In the meantime, pop on over to Mama Smiles where MaryAnne will answer the question: How do you use maps in your home

Developing your family game

When you visit a many houses.

After you’ve lived in a few different areas. You will start to see a variation in the games we play.

There are certain games that last in a family and become the ‘family game’. I often wonder if these games last because the pieces stay together or over time we find our ‘family’ game.

Photo credit

How do you find your game?

You’ll have to play a bunch of games to find the games that you like. It’s exciting to learn a game via grandparents or friends. When you’re at their house have a look at their games and perhaps swap or learn to play a new one.

Sometimes you see a game in the shop, via a market or given as a gift and you have no idea how to play. It’s easier now to find out how to play games without instructions.

It’s interesting watching the BG develop a love of dominos all because it’s what he plays when he’s with Grandad.

The MO is watching and will play well for a time then his is off playing elsewhere.

The LO happily plays around the games, lurking on the floor and checking in to see who’s winning, but is still part of the game play.

Watching them all cosy up they are building memories. The BG is keen on learning the skills of knowing what his opponent has in his hand. He finds it incredible that his grandparents can tell him which tile to play and yet they can’t see his dominos.

The domino game interest starts with them all watching the game play.

Chess is the new next game they’ve been dabbling with and because it was in the house they’ve tried it and friends have helped them when they visit.

Before the kids, my husband and I started playing Mancala. We bought a board. It’s funny how things change and come back with kids. With all the moving our box is somewhere but we recently started using what we had. I thought we’d introduce a little Mancala with what we had at home.

Setting up mancala, adding the 48 beads

After all this is a game played all around the world with many using holes in the ground and pieces of whatever they can find to use. Playing Mancala It’s truly a versatile game, portable and almost instant. The bonus is how easy it is to replace parts.

Mancala board

Photo credit

Cross blog conversation

I’m having a cross blog conversation with Mama Smiles about bringing global local to our homes without going anywhere. Plus integrating global ideas into our everyday interactions without it being a festival or special day.

A cross blog conversation involves two or more bloggers engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue across a series of blog posts. The goal is to ask – and answer – thought-provoking questions in order to share useful information with our readers. This is the first post and the question today: What global games do you play or have influenced you?

We’re trying out new games to develop our family game. We’re experimenting with games with a global twist. It’s an easy way to share a new area or country without leaving our home. Feel free to join in our cross blog conversation.

  • Share your games or activities that have a global feel
  • Find a few games from overseas to try with your child. It’s easier than you think.

Come back and tell us what you do. In the meantime, pop on over to Mama Smiles where MaryAnne will answer the question: What global games do you play or have influenced you? and poses the next question.

Learn more about Mancala

The Marble Game (aka Mancala):: A mom with a lesson plan

Make and Play the Ethiopian Game “Tegre”:: Kid World Citizen

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