A couple of months ago, I decided to start doing one intentional activity with Lucian every day. With my experience working with toddlers in preschools, I know if he were in preschool he would be doing daily activities. Of course, staying home is different, but I wanted to start including one thing just for him each day!
I am very realistic about this goal, sometimes we do a lot and other days, our intentional activity is a walk or a trip to the park. We do a lot things that I find in resource books I have or even from Pinterest. Here is a link to our Pinterest board!
But, I also have some things set up to make this easier on myself. There are staples that we keep in our house and can mix up for new activities:
Sensory Bins: Under our island, we have a sand bin and a corn bin. I would like to add one more thing soon. But these bins are great because I can change what is in them. So for the kinetic sand, I can throw in dinosaurs one day, cars and trucks the next and even cookie cutters and sand molds the next! The corn bin works great with construction vehicles, scoops and bowls or even his Little People. These are probably Lucian’s favorite activities we do. He will often lean under the island and point to the bins to let us know he wants to get them out!
Bingo Dabbers, Finger Paint, Crayons/Markers:
Craft supplies are the perfect way to work on colors and are easy to switch up! We love using these around the holidays to create gifts! This can be so simples, for Christmas time, just put our the green and red dabbers! Or here you see Lu did a Christmas tree with the Dabbers. For Thanksgiving, Lucian painted some plywood and I used the engraver to cut out his hand (you could do this on cardstock!) and it was a huge hit with the family. Of course, Lucian LOVES the finger paint. We do this in his high chair and it is always a big mess. So this is an example of something we only do on a low stress day when everyone is feeling good and happy. 🙂
This is another fun one to use any time. You can do so many things with it! We like to use kitchen utensils sometimes, practice shapes or celebrate holidays by using cookie cutters, or Lucians personal favorite: Mom creates and Lucian smashes! You can even add peppermint oil or pumpkin pie spice to make it festive and add to the sensory experience. We make our own, but if you don’t have time or energy, buy it!
Of course, you have tons of things around your house you can use: pots and pans, water toys, ramps, vehicles, books, blocks and more. Just remember, this does not need to add a lot of stress or take a lot of time. And if you are like me, you are more likely to stick with it if you keep it simple. Also, there is a chance that you will think an activity is awesome and your child is not at all interested (possibly speaking from experience here), this is another reason that I try not to put too much time and money into these activities!
I also want to say, you are doing an awesome job whether you are doing intentional activities or not. Your baby learns so much by listening to you, watching you and through independent play. I have been listening to a few books and podcasts about this lately and overwhelmingly, I hear that parents, especially moms, are taking on too much. We are reading and hearing that our kids need elaborate playdates and need us to have invitations for play set up for them constantly. These are not bad things by any means, but don’t take that on as pressure. Don’t compare yourself to Instagram accounts or neighborhood moms. Kids learn in SO many ways and we are in strange times that come with enough stress and pressure. So, love your kiddos and remember that play is how they learn, and it comes so naturally to them.