This is a game my three-year-old and I invented for running errands, based on Dora the Explorer. It makes our outings a little less like a trip to the insane asylum and more like a fun adventure.
We count out on our fingers three places we will go “on our way” to a fourth and final reward destination.
We both like going to the gym where I get to work up some endorphins and he gets to play with other kids, so that might be our reward destination.
A simple trip might go like this.
“On the way to the gym tonight, we have to stop at 1) the library, 2) the 7 train and 3) the R train. And that is how we will get to the gym. So where do we need to go first?”
He will enthusiastically inform me, “The Library!” and off we go.
Now instead of throwing a temper tantrum, he gets excited about this part of our adventure, the library and looks around excitedly at people borrowing and returning books. Step one a success. As we are leaving I count on my fingers and say, “OK, so we went to the library, now where do we go next?”
“The 7 train!”
That takes us to our third stop before the gym, the R train.
We can make these three places as simple or as complicated as necessary, depending on how much time and energy we have and what we have to do.
The rewards of this game:
1) Did I mention more fun and less going insane?
2) I have absolutely no guilt letting him watch a little TV if we can turn it into a positive real-life experience.
3) It totally makes up for having to listen to that song that I find oh so annoying, “I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map. I’M THE MAP!” If you haven’t had the pleasure of having this song ingrained into your head and you’re feeling left out, no worries, here ya go!