A Hero’s Tale

Hero's Tale (7)

I’m still juggling how to handle storytime, now that Veronika wants her bedtime book at the same time as big brother Travis. This can sometimes make Travis jealous of what used to be our time together! Last night I stumbled upon this useful alternative and although we probably won’t repeat it every night, we’ll certainly do it again.

The idea is simple: instead of reading a story, I spun a tale. Of course it was about a little girl named Veronika, who happened to have… a Superhero Brother Travis!

Hero's Tale (3)

For each of the stories I told, Superhero Brother swooped in to save the day, whether rescuing the family during a hurricane, or saving a field from a giant pumpkin.

Hero's Tale (2)

I simply made these stories up on the spot, and chances are you can do the same. The idea is to make the older sibling feel special. To add to the fun, we acted out the tale with dress-up dolls.

Hero's Tale (4)

I also suggested that Travis draw illustrations. He loved adding to his picture as the stories unfolded.

Hero's Tale (8)

Not only was he so proud, but Veronika clearly could tell the stories were special.

Hero's Tale (6)

If we keep this up, soon we’ll have a whole binder full of Superhero Travis illustrations, depicting the ways he can care for and save his little sister.

Hero's Tale (9)

Note: This game would work equally well if you keep the story less farfetched. Just play up the ways that an older sibling actually helps the younger one on a daily basis, and he or she is sure to feel special.

Beanbag Races

Beanbag Races (2)

The kids got silly with our beanbags today! In general, beanbags are a fantastic item to keep handy in the toy bin. They apply themselves to so many games, whether learning, developing gross motor skills, or honing concepts of object permanence. But sometimes you just need to get silly and race!

On your mark, get set, go!

Beanbag Races (3)

I had the kids get down into crawl position, each with a bean bag on their back. The idea was to race across the living room carpet, but truth be told, no one ever made it that far.

Beanbag Races (1)

The kids thought this felt so funny and got fits of the giggles. So inevitability the beanbag fell off after a few seconds.

Beanbag Races (4)

Your family might be more skilled and want to turn it into a true race. You could race two kids against each other, or have one child race against a timer.

Veronika loved the way the bean bag felt so much that she then wanted to test it out against other body parts.

Beanbag Races (6)

Soon she was touching it to her toes, her knee, and her tummy.

Beanbag Races (5)

Plus her favorite: her head!

Beanbag Races (7)

Balloon Tennis

Balloon Tennis (6)

Here’s a game that you can easily adapt for just about any age, from toddlers to big kids!

To make simple tennis paddles, trace around the top of a craft stick on the back of a paper plate. Make two slits, one spaced near the top of your tracing mark and one near the bottom.

Balloon Tennis (1)

This way, you can thread the craft stick through for a sturdier handle. Add masking tape for extra insurance!

Balloon Tennis (2)

Now blow up a few balloons and it’s time to play.

Balloon Tennis (4)

For toddler Veronika, the joy was simply in tossing balloons her way and seeing if she could bop them back with the paddle. “Whap!” she said, every time she chased after a balloon.

Balloon Tennis (5)

Older toddlers might enjoy the challenge of trying to bounce the balloon up and down on their paddle without letting it hit the ground, but this skill was beyond Veronika.

Balloon Tennis (8)

Still, she loved the game since we added music in the background to add to the enjoyment!

For even older kids, turn it into a tennis rally!

Balloon Tennis (13)

Travis and I hoped to get to ten, but I think the most we ever managed was 5!

Balloon Tennis (14)

Inevitably that balloon bopped away, but we had a fun time in our attempts.

Balloon Tennis (15)