I started reading to my kids from birth...I think. My little ones would follow Mom into the library and sit on the little chairs and read stories. We would take books home and read before naps and in the evening. They were early "talkers" and did very well in school. Another past time we had were board games. I think that most kids want to be with you with no goal in mind beyond the joy of spending time together. They want you to take pleasure in them, play with them, and listen to them. Nothing bolsters their self-esteem more! Playing games is an easy and excellent way to spend unhurried, enjoyable time together. As an added bonus, board games are also rich in learning opportunities. They satisfy your child's competitive urges....and sometimes Mom's.
We started out with Candyland, Pig in the Garden, Shoots and Ladders and went on to Monopoly, Yahtzee, Checkers, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary and the best is last....Scrabble. This is the best game for teaching the English language. We had the early game...nothing fancy, no Junior version in our house. They learned to play with Mom. It is still my favorite game.
My daughter and I play "online" Scrabble. She lives in DC and I'm in Illinois. It is another way we can keep connected. We played the board game on each visit, but now we play online.We each play a word a day. There is a little comment box that pops up at the end of the play...we put a little comment in..it can be about the game or weather or just anything going on in our lives. It is really something to look forward to each day...I run in and check the computer, telling my husband, "I want to see if she put a word up." If she's traveling and can't play for a time... there's an empty spot in my day. We've played many, many games and we are getting better and better at it. We are ruthless...putting in words that we have never used before. Our current game started during Earth Week. She suggested that all of our words have to do with the earth. If you don't think this is difficult... just try it. The game gives you 7 tiles to make up words with. Try making something out of 5 consonants that has to do with the earth. The game is going well...I am winning, so far. I used to win so much of the time, but now I have created a real competitor...it's reversed and she now wins most of the time. This is a great game for older people...keeps your mind active.Maybe she's just helping her old Mom's brain. When we end a phone conversation we say, "See you in Scrabble." I'm finished with this post now...gotta go to see if she put a word up.