Each week I bring you a craft that is fun, frugal, and educational! This week I chose to share one that can help with discipline. As an early childhood educator I believe very strongly in positive reinforcement. Some may feel that this is “bribing” but the reality is that by reinforcing your child’s good behavior with a reward system has been proven to be much more effective than other negative programs.
Various shades of construction paper
Markers or crayons
Tape or glue
1. Pick a background color. You can then draw a tree or cut one out and glue it on the background.
2. With your child, decide whether you want the tree to have leaves, fruit, flowers, etc. and decorate the sky as wanted. Will insisted on a cotton ball cloud.
3. Cut out the shapes of your choice. We cut out 8 but you can pick how many times you would like to reward the behavior. Will chose to make a “normal” tree.
4. Brainstorm with your child a list of rewards they would like for good choices/behavior. These do not have to be physical items, think outside the box. Some ideas are an extra story at bedtime, longer play time during bath, 5 more minutes outside, little girls may want their nails painted, etc.
5. Print these ideas on each leaf, fruit, flower, or whatever shape you chose. Put the completed shapes in a ziploc baggie and set it near the tree picture.
6. Choose the behavior you would like for your child to improve. Tell your child that each time they show improvement, they will get to choose a leaf from the bag and will get that reward.
7. Enjoy filling up the tree! When it’s full, you can save it and start another one with a diffent theme and desired behavior!
This craft can have several educational benefits:
1. Character development-your child will be given a definite goal and directions for behavior that will enable them to grow into a more responsible individual.
2. Language skills-By discussing the project and allowing them to help choose rewards, you are helping them learn how to express their thoughts orally. Also, when brainstorming rewards you can have them write down the list for you. If they are older, they can be the ones to write the rewards on the leaves.
3. Math skills-When making the leaves, be sure to count them out loud. Each time they earn a leaf, discuss how many leaves are on the tree and how many still remain in the bag.