Finally the sun has come out and it has stopped raining long enough for the ground to dry out. It’s still freezing and windy outside but I have been so happy to find that it’s actually dry and sunny these last few days.
Of course our first reaction was to get out in the garden and enjoy it – but I wasn’t prepared for what we would end up doing. Elizabeth filled up a watering can to water the plants, but before I knew it she was making her own ‘muddy puddles’ as she calls them (blame Peppa Pig for that one!) and jumping around in them!
I’m a big believer in letting children use their imagination to develop their own activities, and not overwhelming them with too many toys. Often they follow the predictable line, but on this occasion, I was certainly not expecting the sunny day activity to be replicating the play we’ve had over the last few months of wet weather!
When I think of my youth and what games we played I think of the hours I spent outside my house playing kerby! It is a simple game which needs two players, a football and a straight road with pavements… Simples! Growing up I was quite the tomboy and my neighbour more keen on playing dressing up. This was the game that brought us together and we found our common ground. I smile now when I see the kids on our street playing kerby and wonder how they’d react if I went out asking for a game…
When our baby boy was born we were over the moon. However, as he was 7 weeks early it meant that he was in the special nursery for just over 3 weeks. I arrived home late each night at this front door feeling sad that I wasn’t bringing him home with me.
Then, on November 20th 2012 we got to walk through this door with our teeny 5lb baby and welcome him into his new home. It was the most amazing feeling and I often think of that happy moment when I turn the key in the lock.
Thanks to Tara at Sticky Fingers for giving us the ‘Happy’ theme this week, providing me with lots of chances to think of happy times & places. Visit her page for more of this week’s entries.
I believe in playing with babies from a very young age, and in reading to them and speaking to them, stimulating their development. However, a lot of the time it’s a very one-sided pursuit and it’s easy to give up after a few minutes. This last week however, I’ve found a game that Ruth (7 months) definitely plays with me! It’s the simplest of games: I build a tower and she knocks it down. I almost find myself getting competitive with a 7 month old, which I realise is daft! I rush to get the tower as high as I can before she knocks it down. She is crawling now so I gradually move her further and further away so I get more time to build it up before she crawls over and knocks it down.
Stacking cups must be one of the best ‘value for money’ toys that we have in this house. From just a few months old each of my girls have enjoyed holding them and biting on them. At this stage they enjoy knocking the towers down and by around age one they are stacking them up themselves – albeit handed the pieces in the right order. We used them as bath toys for a while, learning about pouring water from one to another, about floating and sinking and using them as a sieve or ‘fountain maker’ as ours have several holes in the bottom of each cup!
At age 2 my eldest has come back to enjoying them, and can now identify the size of the cups, ordering them correctly with the largest at the bottom. We have turned it into a time trial now: how fast can she build? It did make me laugh the other day though, when she turned to me and said “Why am I playing with baby toys?!”
This week’s theme for The Gallery is ‘walks’ and it’s been a really difficult choice for me. I thought about ‘firsts’ – our first walk with Elizabeth in the pram, my first walk out with the two children on my own, Elizabeth’s first walk ‘on her own’ with her monkey reins rather than in the buggy.
Then there’s the places – favourite forest walks, picturesque beach walks, walks on holidays, walks close to home. Or would I go for particularly memorable walks? The recent walk where we got completely lost! The forest walk where it snowed so heavily we could barely carry the pram back to the car, a family walk together on Mother’s Day – so many options.
Ultimately I’ve opted for this picture – it’s in our favourite park which we can walk to from the house, and it was during a phase when Elizabeth did not want to stay in the buggy – but she was very happy on her Daddy’s shoulders! I hope you like it!
To see more entries visit Sticky Fingers The Gallery page!
I had a great time ‘playing shops’ with my niece Elizabeth at the weekend. She set up her till (can’t believe tills come with a credit card bit now!) and gathered a few items to be sold. The only unfair part of the game for me was that I had to be told which of the items I was allowed to buy, she hasn’t quite grasped the business concept yet! We had coins which were being exchanged and while she is only two it is a great opportunity for developing an awareness of money.
This reminded me of ‘money work’ I have done as a teacher with children between 6-8 years old. Often at parents’ evenings I have been known to encourage Mums and Dads to engage in shop play as it is by far the best way to learn about money and particularly the concept of giving change.
Some ideas are:
1. Begin by pricing items at 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p
2. Use real coins and show the child the money you are giving for items , sometimes giving five 1ps to make up 5p
3. Now that the child understands the value of coins you can introduce change. Say to the child I want to buy this which costs 8p and I’m giving you 10p, how many pennies are you giving me back?
4. After a lot of practise with change within 10p move on to working with 20p and so on.
The language of money is so simple to us but for young children talking about change can be very tricky. I’d love to hear about your experiences of ‘playing shops’ too!
Today while Ruth was sleeping, I decided to try and do some ironing. Elizabeth seemed quite happy playing with her Peppa toys so I got stuck in. Before I knew it she was asking me if she could play with a pan and some water. I think I had said yes before even registering what it was I had agreed to.
We have an american style fridge that she can work herself so she found a cup and was walking back and fro with cups of water and ice to deposit in the pan (or so I thought – most seemed to land up on the floor!) She was behind me so I’m not sure what was going on really, but at a few points I couldn’t help looking. Once when she was giggling I looked to find her dipping her feet in the pan and then making footprints on the floor!
Most of her clothes were removed by the end as they were too wet – but I got my ironing done, and she was kept amused for a good 40 minutes (and still going as I type!) Never underestimate the enjoyment they can get from the simplest things – or the fact that they can entertain themselves. In this case it was a couple of jelly moulds, a couple of cups and spoons, a large pan, water and ice! The only thing I gave her was the pan, she found everything else that she needed.
(Oh – and in case you are wondering she is wearing my onion goggles – these really are the best invention ever and if you cry when you are cutting onions I would highly recommend them. This post is not sponsored by onion goggles – I just love them!)