Now that the duo are two I am seeing some changes around here. Because of their increasing vocab the “requests” are becoming more frequent. This makes for more whining, crying, and asking for the various things they can think of. Play time was becoming rougher and rougher as they went from entertaining themselves for little pockets of time, to heading in the direction of becoming quite demanding. While I realize that this is quite “appropriate” for their age, I needed to find ways to channel their energy and ideas into something more productive. If I did not try we would be eating very specific types of crackers 27 times a day, using our binkies constantly, having only grapes and cheese to eat, playing with mommies i phone, watching Charlie and Lola, and climbing on bar stools ALL DAY LONG. This is a recipe to make a mom crazy. I don’t want my kids to be ultra demanding, nor do I want them to be crying all day long either when I deny their requests.
Enter-More purposeful play and structure
In my silly head I think of this as “homeschooling”. That’s a joke because the kids are a young two and time time we spend on these things could hardly be labeled as “school.” This new time of chaos has left me searching for new options to occupy my kids time and our brains. They are quite capable of learning simple things and I don’t want to waste our time just trying to get through every day.
Here are some of the things we are doing at 2 years 3mo:
-Sometimes staying in our chairs after breakfast to work on something rather than going straight to free play.
-Getting ideas off a really cool blog called Tot School. (Likely more on this later)
-Doing flash cards. Some people don’t like flashcards, but my kids seem to love them and we stop when they get bored. It is very interesting to see what types they are interested in. Little Lady loves the clothes and accessory types (jeans, hat, belt, watch) and Little Man loves the animals and vehicles best. Go figure.
-Working on colors. We frequently ask them what color something is, look at color flashcards sometimes, help them associate colors with objects they recognize (“It is green like Rex.”), ask for things by name and color (“Can you bring me the pink bowl?). Colors seem to be one of the tougher things for toddlers to learn. This is why we have focused on them a little more than other concepts or objects. It is interesting that the colors they are having the easiest time with are the colors that have less shade variation like white, brown, black, red, etc. Green, blue and other colors like them seem to be harder.
-Talking about the days of the week and what we commonly do on those days.
-Playing with Play-Dough
-Folding paper to look like things like butterflies etc.
-Working on having fun with music and learning about different types of instruments. Doing puzzles. Looking at different pictures of instruments and doing the motions that you would do when playing that instrument. Talking about the different sounds and trying to identify what they are. Listing to the Jazz station on our “Music on Demand” channel and naming the instruments they show pictures of during the music.
-Talking about the sizes of things and using words like “tiny, small, medium, big, large” etc.
-Talking about some basic shapes. We are working on these slowly and using the same sorts of techniques as we use with colors. We name things like crackers by their shape (circle crackers-whole grain Trader Joe’s crackers and square crackers-Wheat Thins) etc.
-Reading Bible stories together before bed and letting them repeat the words they are interested in and point things out in pictures.
-Looking out the windows and naming objects, animals, and colors we see.
-Put up a book rack at their level to encourage them to read their books and organize them on their own.
In case you are interested these are the flashcards we are using. Links are embedded in the images.
The first set we got was the Baby Einstein Numbers and Shapes Discovery Cards. I got them at Tj Maxx for a great price, but I have to say they are just okay.
The second set we got was Trend Enterpirse’s “Picture Words”. I chose these because they covered a variety of topics in one pack. Topics include; animals, clothing, transportation, common objects, shapes, safety signs, and colors. I figured this would be a better value than purchasing a bunch of separate sets. I got mine at Learning Palace. I signed up for their email list and they sent me a coupon (I think it was 20% off one item?). Worth a shot if you are needing something there.
What are your kids enjoying lately? Do you have any suggestions for fun ways to learn, play, and add structure to the day?