Ever feel like your kids could do with a bit of a lesson in gratitude and selflessness? Try this.
My kids have it pretty easy, which is great – but it also means they sometimes need a reality check to realise there are others out there less fortunate than they are.
So when I found out that My Little Pony is celebrating International Friendship Day, I decided to brainstorm a few fun weekend activities for my kids to do with their mates. The idea? To stretch them beyond their usual play routine, to try some tasks that will also teach them some solid life lessons along the way.
So the next time the kids have their friends over, I’ll be getting them to add one of the following activities to their regular playtime routine.
1. Make something together.
Nothing will teach cooperation better than getting the kids to make something together. They will be forced to work as a team to achieve a goal. And if, for example, they are making something like friendship bracelets, they can then sell them door-to-door (accompanied by an adult, of course) or at markets on the weekend, and give the proceeds to charity.
They’ll learn about teamwork, friendship and the importance of giving back. Win.
2. Play-acting kindness.
Kids tend to learn and develop friendships through role-play. So next time they’re playing dress-ups or playing with their My Little Pony toys, watch how the act of using their imaginations brings them closer.
You can also seize the opportunity to oh-so-subtly slip in some messages about generosity and kindness that they can (hopefully) replicate in real life.
Maybe their favourite toy shares some toy cake with some other dolls, and is rewarded with friendship and hugs as a result… You get the idea.
3. Picking up rubbish in the community.
Whenever we walk our dog, we always see rubbish in the streets around our home and talk about how littering is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
This gave me the idea to actually use one of the plastic bags I carry for poop scooping to actually pick up the rubbish while the kids had friends over. We talked about why it was important to keep our environment clean and we spoke about how if everyone picked up rubbish, our whole suburb would benefit. #learning
4. Growing plants to share.
I have been trying to grow plants with the kids for the past five years, with mixed results. However, thanks to their brilliant school, they’ve become better at it than I am. The school has a vegetable patch so my kids and their friends are full of advice for how to grow cucumbers, lettuce and zucchini, the easiest of the vegetables to grow.