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Mothers and daughters have a very special relationship. Bonding with your little girl through playtime will not only help with her intelligence but also with her social skills and self esteem. Looking for some ideas? We’ve come up with 10 activities that each provide a different benefit to her develop, in addition to being fun for the both of you.

  1. Color Recognition: Learning to recognize different colors can help your child identify all kinds of objects and patterns. Using paints is a hands-on way to learn about colors since you can mix them to form different hues easily. Try setting up easels for both of you and spending some time creating your own masterpieces to display in your home.
  1. Playing With Textures: Smooth, bumpy, rough, slimy, rough — expose your daughter to a variety of textures around your home. Arrange a sample of textures on your kitchen table and have your child guess describe them while blindfolded. They can try to guess what they are and earn prizes for correct answers. A faster option? Play dress up with clothing of various textures from your closet.
  1. Shape Recognition: Create a scavenger hunt in your house for your daughter and ask her to find objects of different shapes. You can do this with her favorite toys, paper cutouts placed around the house and even old costume jewelry. Once she finds all the shapes, she gets a reward. This activity keeps her moving and away from the television.
  1. Food Education: To help your daughter develop a healthy relationship with food, teach her about all the amazing things it can do for her. Create a matching game with different foods and what they do. For example, milk helps make bones strong due to calcium and oranges keep you from getting sick thanks to vitamin C.
  1. Story Time: To boost her vocabulary as well as encouraging her to use her imagination, spend some time helping her write an original story. Once she’s done, invite some friends over, dress up in costumes and bring it to life.
  1. Social Hour: Spending time with friends and family will help her feel more comfortable in social situations and perform better in school. Plan an activity day for her and her friends that includes a variety of games to help the girls interact. Go old school with this — stage a potato sack race, have them build something or create a mural with sidewalk chalk — to keep them engaged.
  1. History Lesson: Instead of cracking open a book next time she requests a story, why not choose a photo album. Tell them stories about the inspiring women in their family, past and present. After that, help them write a letter or make a card to send to a relative in the mail.
  1. Nature Walk: Getting out into nature is a wonderful way to spend time together and get some exercise. Take a nature walk and play I Spy looking for particular plants, animals and landmarks. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy midway through your journey.
  1. Kitchen Adventures: Bring your daughter into the kitchen to make a special dish together. Let them participate as much as possible from start to finish and let it become a special dish only the two of you share together on certain occasions. They learn some valuable cooking and measuring skills along the way, too.
  1. Self Empowerment: Help build confidence in your daughter by encouraging her to celebrate what makes her special by developing her own superhero puppet. Create an emblem and go on special missions around the neighborhood only she can solve.

Never underestimate the value of one-on-one time with your daughter. How you play together can help prepare her for the years ahead. Be creative and have fun and you’ll be making memories you’ll cherish for years to come. Of course, if you have boys, you can engage in the same activities with them too. Or even get Daddy involved!

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