Last weekend, while tidying up the backyard a little bit, I came across a random 2×4 shoved in a corner along the fence. I don’t know if everyone thinks this way, but when I come across an item, the first place my mind goes is how could we use this for play? Of course a long flat wooden board almost begs to be used as a balance beam, so why complicate things, right?
Before we got to using it too much, we pulled out our sidewalk chalk and decorated it a bit. And by ‘we’ I basically mean that I drew while Miss G gave instructions. ☺
To start off, we placed it flat on the ground and Grae carefully walked back and forth a few times.
Then I thought it would be fun to add a little incline. I brought out a thin cement block and propped up one side of the 2×4, but Miss G automatically said, “No – TWO blocks! Then we can make a bridge!” So a bridge it was.
This little set-up is so, so simple, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s great for balance and motor skill development too.
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Since returning home from vacation last week, we’ve been in a bit of a ‘getting back on track’ mode… While we’re pretty good at maintaining Gracen’s overall schedule while away, some things are harder to control. While on vacation, the time Grae’s left to find and engage in activities on her own is minimal – and for good reason as there are cousins and grandparents to play with! The trouble is, mix the lack of time to practice independence with a whole lot more media exposure (I’m learning that our television is on for, perhaps, an abnormally small fraction of the day), and by the time we return home, I’ve got a stage five clinger on my hands. And don’t get me wrong – I love having my little sidekick right next to me most of the time… But sometimes a mama has just got to do something on her own, without a little pair of hands in the mix. Not to mention that I think independent play is a very important skill for kids to learn.
So tonight, as I was whipping together some dinner, I thought of a little game that would allow Miss G (my purple dinosaur) to be right there in the kitchen with me, while allowing me a wee bit of space. Flipping some chicken using tongs caused me to remember the mini tongs we’d put in Grae’s Christmas stocking. I added two bowls and some shell pasta to the mix, and we had a game on our hands.
The goal? Simply using the tongs to pick up the shells from one bowl and transfer them to the other bowl.
Now this may sound ridiculously easy, but for a toddler who’s had minimal experience with tongs and whose motor skills are not yet fully developed, it’s quite a challenge at first.
But not for long. After successfully transferring all of the pasta pieces twice, Gracen asked for something new. I quickly scanned our kitchen and came up these honey mandarins.
I could already see that her tong transferring skills had improved this time around.
After a couple of rounds with the oranges, Miss G wanted to try something new again, so we dug these bells out of a craft box to use.
It is such a simple activity, but this little ‘game’ certainly kept my clingy monkey happily engaged until dinner was ready. And sometimes that’s just what a mama needs.
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