Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Messy play to stimulate the senses

A while back we took our little guy to the local parents-as-teachers "messy play date" event for preschoolers. They had set up all kinds of play tables full of toddler-appealing things to touch and feel, such as...

wet, gooey spaghetti noodles...a pool full of shredded paper...
a tub of green slime...
potato flakes and sand toys...
He had a great time and the really fun part is that if we ever get bored at home we can recreate some of this pretty easily and have our own messy playtime in the kitchen floor.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Easy clean-up toy ideas

smiling toddler with toysOne of the exciting events of this month was being able to take down the baby gate that has guarded the kitchen since Little Biscuit's birth. Now that he's just a few months shy of two, we figured he was old enough to learn to stay away from off-limits items without baby proofing every cabinet, appliance, and door. We put happy face stickers on kitchen areas he can play in (like the now you see it, now you don't pull-out train track and toy car drawer above); we put "no" symbol stickers on drawers and places we don't want him to touch. Overall he's done a really good job following the rules...with a few slip-ups of course!
train track in a toddler's toy drawerEven though he sometimes makes a mess in the floor around his play drawer, I prefer frequent clean-ups to the previous dilemma - which was frequently listening to him yell because he wanted over the gate and I wouldn't let him in. It's nice to be able to pick it up and just close the drawer when he's done. And it doesn't hurt that overall it's been a lot quieter around here lately...
toddler toy drawer...unless you count the rattle of trains and hot wheels speeding down the track ;)
pull-out train track in a drawerThen, when the kitchen work is done, it's time for laundry...so we found a fun "secret speedway" for that too ;) Just flipped over the empty basket and voila! Gentlemen, start your engines!toddler playing carsIt's great to find these kinds of hidden play spaces all around the house! Makes the toys seem almost invisible ;) I just hope he doesn't get so into discovering the possibilities that he uses the toilet rim as the location for his next matchbox race! That might not be so easy to clean up ;)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cheap Indoor Fun - All Smiles for Tile!

smiling toddler at the tile shopSo within the last few weeks little Biscuit has learned to smile when asked :) He doesn't always comply but when he is in a hammy mood, he likes to say cheese and grin from ear to ear! Sometimes he'll even point to the smile to let you know where it is, in case you can't figure it out for yourself. Today we had a little practice time when we went to the area tile store (no real reason other than another interesting place for a toddler to explore and play).toddler bathtub shoppingThey did have a preschool-size table set up in there with some Lincoln Logs and Disney books, but he was more interested in stepping in and out of the showers and bathtubs and checking out the sinks and cabinets.
toddler at the tile storeHe couldn't put down this sponge...we usually just have washcloths at home so the loofah he found in a soap dish was irresistible. He carried it around all morning!smiling toddler with loofah sponge

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Swingsets and Slides, Inside!

A few days in the last couple weeks we've had some weather that prevented doing much outside. The playground wasn't an option (we actually had to make an emergency wal-mart run for new pants after the little guy slid down a slide at the park that was more like a raging water flume!) So we tried to be resourceful and use what we already had...we brought our Little Tikes swing and slide in the house, wiped it down, and found a nice spot for it out of the way. It has been well used - a lot more than it has been outside, where it gets wet and dirty and ignored. Little Biscuit loves to climb all over it and push his toy teddy bears and Frisbee the dog in the swing; but most of all he thinks the slide is one big giant car ramp, and boy do those racecars pick up some speed on it! VROOM!!