The week of March 16 was our officially first week where we all were home 24/7. Oregon passed the Stay at Home order. Challenging though, it was also a great time to bond as a family and gave me an opportunity to do few interesting activities with my toddlers, some of which were a hit or miss.
It was a busy week for us so i wanted to do something which takes less time is setting up. For all the activities listed below, it took me 5-10 minutes in the morning while I was fixing breakfast. Many activities I divided into two during the day. For example, teaching them the phonics for alphabet A and B. I did alphabet “A” in the morning after breakfast and then Alphabet “B” in the afternoon after their snack. I just stuck to one activity per day, following the KISS rule (keep it simple, stupid.)
Here are some of my ideas I tested during the first week of lock down.
Monday: Learning ABCs
My twins keep singing ABC song the entire day. And being avid readers, they use lot of words. So, I feel they are ready for the next step. We did a simple yet fun activity which involved running, jumping, hoping, each time we identify an item with a particular letter. I picked up to alphabets – A and B. This is what I did:
- I simply drew the alphabet on a coloured paper and made corresponding post-it notes of the letter – 2 mins.
- For the alphabets on the coloured paper, I added glue and spread some semolina flour to give it a texture. You can spread anything that has texture and is safe. This took me 5 minutes in the morning to prepare.
- I then sat with the twins made them feel the alphabet shape and then say it LOUD, like real LOUD!
- I then gave them post-its with the letter on it and asked them to identify the items that starts with the alphabet. We used the POGO Jump Sticks to find an item and then stick the post-it note while saying the name of item loudly.
- Later during the day I asked them what items they identified with alphabet A, and they told me the entire list: – Art room, Apple, Australia (they love finding things on map and they know where it is), and Aeroplane.
- You can give them hints. For example, what do we kick with the alphabet B?
If you don’t have time to make the Alphabets at home, you can even order sensory alphabets and numbers online. You can even do this activity with wix sticks.
Tuesday started on a difficult note for us. My second is order twin was really upset over the dress her sister wore. So, it was a difficult morning and yes a clingy one. And unfortunately, it was also my baking day of muffins and bread. Kids in kitchen, grill on full baking mode, and husband in back to back meetings, I was going crazy. So, we decided to do something experiential. My twins love lentils and beans. So, this is what I did:
- While working in the kitchen, I gave them their painting plate.
- I kept adding glue and gave them different types of lentils and beans to stick on it.
- I helped them say the name loud and then asked them to stick it. Make sure you keep watching them for sticking beans in nose or ears.
- I reused the plate throughout the week and made them identify which lentil or bean was made for lunch/dinner. One of my twin got really happy when I made kidney beans and she yelled “Idi’s favourite kidney beans.) It is this reaction which makes everything worth it! Isn’t it?
Wednesday: WATER PAINT and BOARD GAME
A well rested night, a good nice hot breakfast, and we were all set for the day. As it was raining outside, we could not go for a walk or stand in the balcony. So we decided to try our hands at water painting. With my twins it was a complete miss! They ended up playing with the water more than the painting. While it was fun to watch, it was too much trouble to dress them all over again.
In the afternoon we played this board game: First Orchard Board Game. This game was a gift from a dear friend on their birthday. It is a great game for toddlers as it is not only fun but teaches children to work as a team. As I have two, both of them tried to pick the fruits from the trees before the raven reaches the end of the path, which was lot of fun and excitement. Later on they played it themselves (not exactly by the rules) for almost 40 minutes. They ask me to play it everyday. It is also a great game to make them sit at one place for sometime and make the understand the importance of rules. It is definitely worth a try.
Thursday: MAKING OUR OWN DOUGH AND CLEAN UP
As a parent you will totally understand that sometimes we do not know why our children do a certain thing at a certain time. Thursday began for me with exactly the same feeling. My twins did not want to play with any toys or anything. I had to engage them in something totally new and distracting than the usual, and this is what we did with little supervision.
- Give one bowl per child.
- Give water and flour.
- Ask them to mix it.
You will be surprised how engaging, exciting, and thrilling this activity can be for them. They will come back with questions like – this is too wet. Please give me more flour. This is sticky. What should I do? It not only teaches them how to balance and pour water and not let things spill, but all about cause and effect! And to my surprise they did this for 45 minutes or so. After this, I gave them two cloth pieces and ask them to clean the floor, which you can see in the picture they did!
Friday: WORKING WITH STICKERS
I tried this new sticker book I ordered few weeks back – I Can Do That! Stickers: An At-home Super Simple Sticker Activity Workbook. I found it really nice and engaging and my twins loved it too. We did two activities from the book, building up the garden and the number game.
As a caution, don’t use the entire book at once. Tear out the pages and the stickers you want to use with them. Or else, if you kids are half and energetic and excited as mine, your book will finish in one day. 🙂
Sometimes, doing simple things with kids gives them immense excitement. For them, everything is a learning. So, learn to enjoy experimenting as a parent! Don’t be scared of mess and clean ups! It will all be worth it! In these times, when we are in a lock down, lets be creative and use the resources we have at hand to create something. Our children will automatically learn to work with things at hand!
Until next time, keep experimenting, messing, and having fun. Hang in there and stay safe!