When I get to Thursday, I am always really ready for the weekend. Do you feel the same way? It’s like, four whole days of full-time mommy, part-time seamstress (housekeeper, decorator, accountant, printer, chef, etc, etc.) is about my limit. I can always push through to Saturday, but the system usually breaks down slightly and I have to pull all sorts of odd strings to stay sane. Like giving Milo fruit snacks every time he asks (aka every 10-20 minutes) and just buying (rather than putting back and handling the meltdown) that jumbo bag of powdered donuts that Milo slips into the cart when I run to the store to get another gallon of milk because we just ran out. Hmm. I am learning to pick my battles, and come Thursday, there aren’t many I have the energy to fight!
A couple things that have been life-savers these last few months are Play School, Play Dough and Painting.
My sister has been a part of a play school for years with her kids, and this year I felt like Milo was old enough and could really benefit from the social interaction (not to mention that I could get a little break!) I emailed a bunch of moms with similar-aged kids, and those interested and I joined into a twice-a-week, two-hours-a-day play school. Each mom hosts at her home both days of one week, and then it rotates. Each week is assigned a color/number/letter to emphasize in a little, simple craft, but other than that, it’s just about play.
I have loved the couple weeks that I have hosted, so far. It is kind of nice to set aside the whole morning, knowing that I will be totally and completely focused on these kiddos. It’s great practice in uni-tasking (rather than multi-tasking?!) And, I also really love that Milo gets to go play with his great friends on the weeks I don’t host, and I have two hours to choose something else to do and have some Eliot-only time.
We have also recently become interested in Play Dough. I’ve always felt like it was really messy. And, I am pretty obsessive about not mixing the colors (isn’t that silly? Everyone has their things, I guess). Milo got a bunch for his birthday this year, but I didn’t really feel like he was old enough to play with it until a month ago. It has been the biggest hit!
For my sanity, we have set rules that it is only played with at the “big table” in the dining room. Also, each person only gets one color at a time. Milo (and the play school kids) will all sit at the table and squish, cut, mold, stack, cookie-cut and roll their dough for well into an hour. I love watching their little minds turn as they figure out what they want to do with this ball of colorful gunk. Milo really loves squishing his onto a plate into a “pizza” and then asking me to put it in the microwave. When it comes out (not having actually been heated) he is always careful to blow on it and state “Hot pizza, mama. Hot.” I can’t wait to try to make some of this kind when ours gets too gross (and it’s close.) It looks awesome and easy.
Finally, we have been exploring our artistic side through painting. I introduced Milo to watercolor a couple weeks ago on a rainy day when I was fresh out of ideas and we were both sick of tractors, dinos, and books. I was surprised by how easily he enjoyed it. It seemed much more interesting for him than coloring with crayons has ever been.
When I last hosted play school, I decided to try this milk method of painting (we skipped the magic part and went straight to the paint part), and it was great! There isn’t a whole lot easier and safer than milk+food coloring=paint for toddlers. I didn’t even have to worry when the younger ones sucked the milk right out of the sponge brush:)
Having kids is never boring, that’s for sure. There will always be something new and fun to do for growth, imagination and entertainment, it just takes a little thought. Pinterest is sure a wealth of ideas for kid crafts, right (I’m much better at just exploring and re-pinning than pinning myself, but you can follow my few boards here.)
What are your favorite activities for your young kids? With the imminent winter, I am collecting all sorts of ideas!