Everything your baby does is a learning experience. They are like squishy little sponges picking up information throughout the day. Each and every thing you do can be used as a teaching opportunity by mom and dad. Even when we are running errands or grocery shopping there are ways to teach our babies. They love to hear mom and dad talk and whatever you are doing you have the stage and the ability to entertain your baby.
I am going to offer up a few ways to interact with your baby that is not only entertaining but educational and important for their growth. They are simple things that perhaps you are already doing, some things just come naturally and we don’t even think of them as teaching tools. Perhaps I can give you some ideas to stir your creativity.
I have a daughter and a son. As far as their dispositions go they are as even farther apart. They do love each other dearly but sometimes I’m afraid they do not quite get what the other is thinking. It was difficult at times teaching and entertaining them because of these differences. But my daughter, being the love to sit and read and play quietly type, would help me out with my son, being the never stop moving and have to tear up everything in sight type. She was the oldest and realized early on that we had our hands full. I’m just oh so glad they weren’t the same type!
As I told you above, my daughter loved to read, or actually be read to. She could listen for as long as you’d read. Then when she got older, she had several of the books memorized and would sit and turn the pages and read what she knew was on the page. We found a box of old timey hats at a garage sale, she loved it when I put each one on her and looked in the mirror. We talked about the color of the hat, the shapes on the hats, and how each ones material felt. She loved puppets, would interact with them as they made conversation and animal noises. It was all so simple playing games and teaching her the names of things, teaching her colors, sounds, etc.
Then along came my boy, who is so very funny and makes me laugh all the time, but will not pay attention to too much for too long. He demanded a different strategy. His attention span was seconds to about five maybe ten minutes. We had to keep on our toes with this one. This is the child that if you walk around the corner for a second and if you don’t hear anything you must run immediately back to see what wildly imaginative trouble he’s gotten himself into!
Blocks – One of my son’s favorite things was blocks, not necessarily the building part, although he would spend a lot of time building a nice size tower. The part that thrilled him was throwing the other blocks to knock them down! He could keep this up for quite awhile. Sometimes he got tired of the stacking and asked his sister to stack for him. I looked at it as a way to develop his eye hand coordination; he was really good at it too.
Ball – We played a lot of ball. We would sit on either end of the kitchen and roll the ball back and forth. This would usually wind up being a game of roll the ball into the pot after he got into the pots and pans. Then it would take a twist and become roll the canned good across the kitchen. Any way it went it was all good, we all had fun and there was a lot of giggling going on.
Blanket pull – Another thing my son loved was the blanket pull. He would come running down the hall with his blanket to find someone to give him a ride. He loved to lie back on the blanket while being pulled around the house. Sometimes mom and dad would put him in the blanket and swing him back and forth to his delight. This became a sort of a bedtime ritual as we drug him to his room for the night, there was a lot less resistance that way!
Boxes – Both my children loved boxes big enough for them to crawl through and sit in. They would play with it until it collapsed and then crawl in it with both ends open and make it roll across the floor. We would cut holes for them, draw on doors, and if the box was big enough we’d have a little snack party.
Tents – Tents in the living room or family room were always a favorite past time. A sheet over a couple chairs and they had a little fortress. I know a lot of kids have their own little tents now but somehow this seemed like so much more fun. I would put a sheet down on the floor too so they could have a proper tea in there with snacks and drinks.
Crafts – We had craft time quite often as both children loved to make things. We bought craft sticks, glue, and glitter and made houses or airplanes. We made a house out of sugar cubes one time, the glue being icing. They really liked that. We did finger painting, water colors, and macaroni jewelry. We had an old creepy crawler’s machine and they loved to squirt in the goo and watch as mom cooked the crawlers.
Baking – When I was baking cookies or making a cake my son always wanted to help. He wasn’t quite ready for the kitchen but I got him an easy bake oven (to the chagrin of my husband, but in my defense it was blue). He loved stirring the dough around and pouring it into the little pans. He was quite the little chef. To the delight of my husband he has since lost the desire to create these delicacies.
Stories – When my daughter was born we bought a rabbit in the hat puppet that I would use to make up stories and change my voice. She actually talked back to the puppet, it was so cute. I wasn’t even trying to hide my speech. Now my son on the other hand kept telling me it was me talking and NOT the rabbit. He was very much into the reality of things; he actually got quite upset about it. So I switched over to a stuffed cow we had and told another story about the poor cow being out in the meadow and the bees were biting his rump! To which the poor cow would run and kick and swoosh his tail to get away from the bees. Well, this was a hit with my son. I could tell a story but not pretend to be a puppets voice. Okay.
Bath time – Both my children loved to play in the tub. They had boats and sponges and animals that squirted water. They loved the colored crayon soaps that you could color on the tub with. We blew bubbles in the tub and sank a lot of ships. Bath time was a wonderful time to get them to stay in one place. You can talk about colors, shapes, have them name parts of the body, and tell stories about the pirates on the ship they were sailing. It was always one of my favorite times.
There are many more things that you can do with your toddlers. They are happy just being with you. They take a lot more individual attention but everything you do is a learning experience for them. Just be creative and have fun because this may be one of the rare times in your children’s lives that you have a totally captive audience.
Paul and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare. They take care of all the necessary information related to “babysittingjobs.com/”. He personally thinks his blog will help finding information on all things related to a babysitter.