With my hubby working very long hours so that I can stay at home with my babies.. I do just that, and often solo. I therefore need to be very organised with my time so that I don't overlook certain things such as providing a stimulating environment for my children. The activities I am focusing on here are the ones we do around the house, together as a family and that are not in a class format. As I add content to this blog you will soon come to realise that I love lists, they are a crucial part in my survival and I have even bought a laminator to laminate the important ones :o)
To put it simply, there is a list hanging on our magnet board with a separate list of activities for both lil-L and Zaccy. There is a two year age difference between them so by default the activities are quite different. The main reason I did one of these lists is that lil-L is truly phenomenal and I will openly brag about that, but whether she was born this way or whether it was something that I did right as a mother I will never know. I do know that I was very pedantic about everything I did with her, from nutrition to providing age appropriate activities for her throughout her life. So just in case, it had something to do with me and the way I did things with her, I want to make sure that I give my little guy the same fighting chance.. after all he has to survive in the same household as her...
For both kids I have many activities listed that are just a part of our everyday, such as washing, sweeping outside, pulling weeds, vaccuming, baby massage, bubbles in the bath etc, but I list these so that as we do an activity I can tick it off and try not to keep repeating the same thing each day. Each list has very age specific activities listed too.
We need to function as a productive family so I never plan any particular activity for a particular day as we never know what each day will bring and what will be most important to do for that day. I consciously do this as I don't like to promise lil-L something and then break her little heart if we cant do it for some reason. The way I use this list is as a memory trigger. If we are having a boring moment or I need to feed Zaccy or the 'Terrific Two's' are starting to show, I pick lil-L up and say "Lets go and pick an activity off our sheet" and we make our way to the list. The beauty of a two year old not being able to read, is that you as a parent get to choose the activity. I personally give lil-L a choice of two so that she feels like she has made the choice herself.
There are a couple books that I have found invaluable in generating ideas for these activities and these are truly worth while getting hold of for any busy mum;
Baby's Fist Skills by Miriam Stoppard
365 Activities you and your baby will love by Dr Roni Cohen Leiderman & Dr Wendy Masi
350+ Free Activities for Toddlers by Trish Kuffner
Because I found Dr. Stoppards book so comprehensive and its approach so different as it focuses on age specific activities (month by month even), I have made a list of all the activities throughout this book and each month I reprint this same list and circle the relevant activities that are most important for that month. I also keep 365 Activities you and your baby will love at hand so I can just randomly pick something new to do.
Because lil-L is 2.5yrs old now and I want her to be stimulated in different areas. I have separated her list into categories as follows;
Rainy Day Activities... Music Day, Blanket Riding, Hat Dress Up, Chair Maze etc..
Outdoors... Blowing Bubbles, Sand & Water, Planting Flowers, Weeding, Trampoline
Early Learning... Colours, Coin Sorting, ABC Flash Cards etc..
Manners... Quiet & Loud Voice, Thank You & Please, Interrupt Rule etc...
Nature... Rock Treasure Hunt, Make a Bird Feeder, Name Parts of Animals (wing, antlers, claws, beak...)
Art... Painting, Foot Tracing, Stamping, Gluing etc..
Movement & Music... Yoga, Bike Riding in Park, Lets Pretend.., Dancing.
I have 4 different lists in rotation and as we fill one in and cross everything out we print out the next one. Its a great way of doing something a little different each week/month and lil-L loves taking ownership of her activities and being part deciding what will happen each day.