I think most parents would describe their child as “active,” these little humans are discovering the world for the first time, after all. It’s like being on vacation in a new place, you try to cram everything into one short week, except they have a lifetime to discover, and we have a lifetime of worrying that they might discover the wrong things!
That leads me to today’s blog topic: keeping those little ones busy, safe, and learning… while giving mom and dad some peace of mind (as in your little one won’t be off in the other room drawing on your white walls with permanent marker).
Stickers. Although stickers may need a bit of supervision, they are excellent for building fine motor skills: pinching with index finger and thumb, hand-eye coordination, controlled release of objects, etc. Make things easier on yourself by providing objects that are okay for decorating with stickers. We like to give Grey everything from a blank sheet of paper to a cardboard box, and when we are feeling silly his nose and belly. Our favorite place to purchase stickers is the Target Dollar Spot.
Paper Roll Chutes. A free and extremely fun activity. Keep the cardboard tubes from your toilet paper, paper towels, and wrapping paper. Use the rolls and tape to create chutes for small objects like ping pong balls, cars, and more. A great intro to STEM.
Water Play. I am all for water play, when it’s in the bathtub, and not on my living room carpet. Water play comes naturally, but we try to add some fun things to make it more sensory and learning friendly: new sponges (the soft, colorful ones), bucket and shovel, Rub a Dub Stickers for the Tub , a spray bottle, magic grow washcloths, plastic kitchen utensils, even Mr. Potato Head. This is also a good time to sing the ABCs!
Junk Mail. Before tossing all those annoying circulars into the recycle bin, let your toddler have at ’em. You can let them rip them to pieces (though more clean up for you), crumple them into balls and have a paper ball fight or see if they can toss the balls into a bin. It’s also a good way to introduce your little to the real world in a little way.