Things I know for sure

I don’t claim to know everything, and yet, there are a few unwavering things I know without a doubt in my mind, which pertain to how we are, as a family. One of those things has to do with going places that are deemed ‘fun’ by most people with kids. Places like amusement parks or activities that require lining up for. Places with big crowds that don’t move fast, or at all in some cases.

It’s not like the kids don’t enjoy the 2 minute rides. Of course they do. They are 3 and 6. It’s not that I’m not absolutely delighted at their squeaks of happiness and excitement when they race around on a mini roller coaster or some such thing. I am. I take pictures to prove it.

BUT. Continue reading

Toy dumping

Question (to no one in general but all parents of boys in particular):

Is dumping toys on a big pile in the middle of a heavily foot-trafficked area in the house a boy thing?

And when I say toys I actually mean toys first, then baskets, small furniture such as chairs, bedding and pillows, and any other conceivable thing they find that they can pick up and carry?

And by baskets, I actually mean the contents of the basket which are dumped on top of the existing pile of stuff.

And by contents I actually mean tiny parts that are hard to re-collect and put back into the basket, such as toy cars, baby toys, tiny books, hair clips and other odds and ends that collect over the years in baskets.

And when I say other conceivable things I mean articles of clothing, shoes, sun hats, umbrellas, even diapers.

And when I say pick up and carry I actually mean dump. And throw.

So. What is that?

I thought it was only my kid that did that.

It appears that other boys similar in age as mine (5) are doing it. Witnessed by me personally at a neighbour’s house just the other day.

Weird.

Imagination

Imagination is something we are all born with. This is what I believe.

Whether it is fostered in childhood is an entirely different story.

Imaginative play doesn’t have to include a whole set-up of specially purchased toys. Kids don’t need to have the latest gadget or remote-controlled vehicle or computer-enhanced game to play imaginatively.

Sometimes, the simplest objects lying around the backyard can promote their imagination. That, and a little bit of boredom.

The resulting creativity is often, um, strange, but also completely unique. I mean, has anyone ever seen an exact duplicate of this?

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Homemade homeschooling materials for toddlers

These ideas are inspired by the Montessori methods, and cost practically no money. It encourages the child to learn how to sort, and how to manipulate with her hands and fingers the different types of materials.

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To make the materials, all you have to do is keep an empty box, and some plastic containers.  Our containers are from infant food like applesauce, and they’re great because they come with little lids too, which helps tremendously when storing things. But you can use yoghurt containers as well.

You will need large pasta shells (uncooked, in case that’s not clear!), some large pebbles or rocks you can collect with your child(ren) on your next nature walk, or even large dry beans. Buttons work as well.

Word of caution: it’s always a good idea to watch your child play with items that are small enough to put in their mouth to prevent choking.

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Activity:

Place the box with the items inside on a child-sized table. Start with just one item at first, like the pasta shells.

Demonstrate to the child how you can take the shells out of the box and make a pile on the table.

Variations:

Show the child how to take the shells out of the box and place them into a plastic cup.

Observe your child. She will manipulate the items according to her own will, which is fine. There is not right or wrong way to play with these materials. Sonja, who is 14 months in this picture, started by moving the pieces in and out of the box and in and out of the containers at random. She also tried to pour them. This inspired me to show her how to pour dry rice, but that’s another post.

As boredom sets in, mix up different types of materials. In our case we placed the pasta shells and the rocks in the same box. I demonstrated how to make different piles with each item, first on the table, then in the plastic containers.

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Sonja didn’t follow suit, but that is ok. I will demonstrate again next time and observe how she may, or may not, learn to sort.

Once sorting becomes an activity, the choices are limitless. When my older boy was 2 1/2, we used an egg carton and placed different sized and different coloured lego pieces into each egg cup. We learned counting and colours that way. Dry beans of different colours work as well.