“What’s in your wallet?” I bet that sounds like a familiar tagline from a credit card commercial with Jennifer Garner or Samuel L. Jackson. Hmmmm–I wonder if those two actors are on to something!
Here is a fun game to play with your child which will support language development and cognitive skills such as critical thinking. Yes, and it’s called “What’s in your wallet?” Or, you can tailor it to be “What’s in your pocket? Backpack? Lunchbox,” etc. The neat thing about this game is that it includes items you already have! There is no need to go out and buy materials. It’s completely DIY!
The setup is simple. Reach into your pockets, wallet, or handbag at the end of the day and ask your child, “Wow! Want to see what’s in here?” Keep in mind, your voice and gestures are the selling point. The more intrigue you convey the more interested your child will be to see what’s hiding in your pocket! Make it fun by changing your voice, changing your facial expression to a bewildered look, and even exclaiming surprise when you pull out what’s in your pocket. The sillier the reaction the more fun! You can prolong the suspense by having your child guess what the item is before you even pull it out. You can drop hints of what it is by describing what it feels like, what it’s used for, etc. After you finally reveal the object, engage in a conversation with your child about the item. Ask your child how they think it ended up on your pocket, where could it have come from, what it is used for, and where do they think it will end up. Allow for open-ended, creative responses. This will encourage higher level, critical thinking as well as opportunities for expressive language because “anything could be possible.” You can also explain how items ended up in your bag/wallet/pocket in a very matter-of-fact way. This will give you and a your child a chance to talk about the sequence of events for particular items and how they really wound up in your possession. A few ways to add a spinoff to this easy activity are:
- Dictate the stories that accompany the items found in your wallet/bag/pocket. You can go back and the read the stories like a book.
- Have your child pull out their backpack or feel around in their pockets to have you take turns at guess what’s inside. This is a wonderful way to have them practice them describe different attributes.
- Pick a special item to share back and forth, alternating days for his has it in their possession. (almost like a Flat Stanley).
The Parenting Hub would love to hear how you turn everyday interactions into brain building opportunities with your child. Please send your open-ended questions and responses to : firstname.lastname@example.org