Thursday, April 12, 2018

Baby, Let's Do Something Fun!

For moms who work from home or, simply put, moms who stay home to care for the kids, thinking of activities to get them through the day can be quite a feat. While putting the child in front of the TV or giving them a gadget may seem like the easiest solution, it shouldn’t be our go-to means of entertainment.

Since my daughter became a very active toddler, I realised that I didn’t need to spend so much time entertaining her. I’ve seen her play by herself and it amuses me. But once in a while, I also like to spend quality time with her to bond.

During one of her afternoon naps, I made a list of things I can do with her that doesn’t involve gadgets or spending so much. I have done and still do a number of them with my little girl and we have fun in each others’ company.

1. Read a book

This must be the biggest reason why my little girl has such a wide vocabulary for her age. We spend time in the morning and at night reading three to four books, sometimes even five. Some books over and over again because she just seems to love particular ones. Reading helps them to learn the meaning of new words, as well as enhances their imagination. That’s probably why she has learned to create her own stories with her toys.

2. Role-playing / Make believe play

We spend a lot of time role playing. Once in a while, we play doctor wherein she’s the doctor and I’m the patient. Sometimes, we pretend we’re on a picnic. Sometimes, we pretend to have an ice cream shop where she makes all kinds of flavours with her play-doh. She also pretends to cook for me. And we even create stories with her toy figures like Paw Patrol and Carebears. Playing make believe encourages them to dream big. It teaches them to care for others, lets them imagine situations, and it also teaches them to do chores at home.

3. Painting and coloring

Coloring is something she does a lot when we’re out to keep her still. We bring a small drawing book and crayons so she can do whatever she likes on paper. On certain days, I give her a sheet from my sketch pad and bring out a cheap watercolor set, the kind we used in elementary. Once, I bought a small canvas and a basic inexpensive acrylic set. I let her paint whatever she wanted. This is very special to her because we hang her painting on our wall and it gives her something to be proud of. It teaches her to appreciate art more and it encourages her to be more creative.

4. Going outdoors

Every afternoon, after her nap, we go for a walk outdoors. We have a small village with barely any cars passing, so walking around is a breeze. This is her time to get some sun, play with the other kids her age, ride her scooter, run with our dogs, have the space to play hide and seek, and blow bubbles. It’s a way for her to breathe in some fresh air, and it’s also my time to get my needed exercise. When we’re at my fairy godmother’s house, since theirs is a busy street, she gets to play in their garden or, as a treat, I take her to the village park for some physical playground activity.

5. Teach them to “create” something

Kids like to copy what their parents do. My little girl sees me drinking coffee everyday so one day she wanted to make it for me. I let her. We have a Nespresso machine which I use when I am lazy to go through the motion of grinding beans and brewing a cup. I taught her how to use the Nespresso machine and the milk Aeroccino (milk frother) that comes with it so she can now do it on her own. It makes her feel proud to know that she is doing something for me.

Another thing we did once was to make popsicles together. It was an easy recipe of bananas, milk, and honey that I found online. I let her slice the bananas, pour in the ingredients together, and push the blender button. And then i helped her pour it into the popsicle molders and into the freezer. It excited her that she made something that she can eat when she awakens from her nap. Something that was so simple was an accomplishment for her.
There are many other things you can do with a toddler. You just have to get creative if things feel repetitive. But anything you do with your child is a little something to brighten their day because they got to spend it bonding with you.

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