By Katrina Lindus
Did you know that the Montelores Early Childhood Council hosts events so families in our community can have family fun together?
We host themed Family Nights regularly throughout the year for all families in Dolores and Montezuma counties, with a great dinner and fun games. All are free. Family Nights promote school readiness and early literacy through specially designed activities (shh – don’t tell the children they’ll be learning new things). By coordinating with your local Children’s Librarian, you can check out books that promote the same theme as the Family Night.
The theme of May’s Family Night was Summer Fun, with activities appropriate for parents to do with their young children during the summer. In case you missed it, here are some of the fun things participants did.
Four Square and Hopscotch: These classic games can be played outside using chalk to mark the game areas, or indoors during bad weather, using painters’ or masking tape. They help children develop motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and turn-taking.
Spider Web: This activity requires a wide doorway or two pillars to create a web with yarn and strong tape. Once the web is up children can pass balloons through, try to walk through without getting tangled (with supervision) or play fly and spider tag (the web is the safe zone); the possibilities for fun are endless! This helps develop problem solving and creativity skills.
Nature Walk Painting: This is a multi-step activity. First, parents and children go on a nature walk around the block, at the park, in Hawkins Preserve, or even the front yard! Explore and gather nature items like leaves, grasses, wild flowers, feathers, etc. Tape these items to small sticks - the finished product should look like a paintbrush. Use your natural paintbrush with any kind of non-toxic paint and paper. As you paint, experiment with which of the paintbrushes you make work well, which ones don’t and discuss why that might be with your children. This is an activity that requires little cost and can include the entire family. It helps develop early science skills, pre-writing skills, and promotes physical activity.
Carpet Picnic: Who says that a picnic has to be outside? Rain or shine, it is wonderful to get down on the ground with your children and enjoy a meal and conversation. That’s exactly what we did at the May Family Night – we had an indoor picnic!
Books related to this theme include: “In My Tree,” by Sara Gillingham; “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle; and “In the Woods: Who’s Been Here?” by Lindsay Barrett George.
During the summer months, MECC will be hosting family nights at Centennial Park (the duck pond in Cortez). June is National Mud Month, so join us on Thursday, June 25 from 5:30-7 p.m. for a mud-themed night. Families are encouraged to wear clothing that can stand getting dirty as the evening will provide good, (not so) clean, family fun.
For pictures of previous Family Nights, visit www.monteloresecc.org and click on the News and Events button to find “View All Family Night Photo Albums.” To RSVP for Family Nights call (970)564-3211, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure we have enough food for everyone.
Katrina Lindus lives in Montezuma County with her husband, 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. She is the Best Foot Forward Transition Coordinator and Health Integration Coordinator for MECC.