I don’t even want to count down many days or weeks have passed since the lockdown. I am just happy and content that my near and dear ones are safe, healthy, and most importantly at home. I read a line from one of my very inspiring bloggers – the Fleamarket Queen, that earlier for summers we might have planned beach or mall? But now, what choices we have – bedroom, living room, balcony/patio if you are lucky to have one in the USA, so on? If you have kids, especially young toddlers, you must have realized that it really does not matter to them. For them these are not choices, these are just places to enjoy and have fun. They so much live in the present. And yes, this is an extremely important lesson we can learn from our kids during these testing times.
So, we did something different this time. We distributed our activities into each room this time. Earlier I always restricted their activities in their art room. However, we now need to adapt and see what works best for our kids. I chose the room based on the type of activity they did. And they were happy to be my little explorers in this trial.
Shapes with Sticks
We did this activity in our living room. As there was no mess involved, it was a safe place to do this activity. As I had to sit with them for this one. All you need are wooden sticks. If you don’t have sticks, pick up spoons from your kitchen or even uncooked noodles. We took a paper and stamped it first for some fun and to create the environment. We then sat together and made shapes. My girls already know shapes. So they chose which ones they want to make. What was new is to count the number of sides each shape had.
Toddlers are growing leaps and bounds. So pointing that this is a circle and this is a triangle is not a very big deal for them. What is informative and learning for them is to find shapes in every object and those shapes transition into another shape. Hold a book. Ask them what shape is the book. And turn the book to 90 degrees and ask them what shape it is. This kind of puzzles unriddle their mind slowly and make them creative thinkers! Try this with different objects you come across every day.
Books and puzzles you can refer for teaching shape:
- My First Toddler Coloring Book: Fun with Numbers, Letters, Shapes, Colors, and Animals!
- My very first book of shapes – Eric Carle
- Wooden Educational Shape Color Sorting Puzzles
To be honest, I was tired of doing paint activities with the girls. Recently, my girls want to paint everything else but the stuff at hand. I did not want to stop them from creating things, so we turned to stamps and it was a welcome change. Planning activities with twins is a different level task. Before planning, I really need to make sure I have two-two sets of everything. Not that I don’t want to teach them how to share. It is all about choosing your battles. 🙂 So, for this activity, I turned to nature and I knew if they pick up their objects they will not have conflict. And as this activity was with nature, we chose to do this in our balcony with birds visiting us on the feeder and squirrel jumping on the tree. You need the following supplies:
- Stamps – you can use any DIY stamp pads. I used this from amazon: Color Rainbow Finger Ink Pad
- Nature materials like
- Pinecones, if you have any lying in your backyard or balcony
- Flowers, if you have any
- Vegetables, if you want to try. I did not want to waste vegetables at this time so I did not try this one.
- Any other sensory object
Girls wanted to make a tree for the squirrel. So, we made a tree of hope (named by me) and used the different elements they picked up for this.
For quite some time my girls know that Saturday and Sunday daddy does not go to the office. And probably on one of these days, we might get an interesting meal of pasta/noodles/pizza/aalo paratha, etc. So, I decided to build on this and used this book to teach them weekday names. And then we talked about what things we do each day at home. For example, Monday is new week, so new books in our book stand. Tuesday and Wednesday are daddy’s meeting days with Himanshu and Sudipta Uncle. Thursday, mom might make bake them something…and so on. I don’t have a fixed pattern to things, so I just make up stories. And books are always for the couch near the window, watching the birds on the feeder.
Book: It’s Monday, Mrs. Jolly Bones! And they have a kindle version too for this book!
For month names we associated each month with the birthdays that come along with them. And we used a book to associate the months, birthdays, and seasons at the same time. At the time of writing this book, they know birthdays of all family members, their friends, and month names from Jan to July. And they know Ice cream and lemonade are made in July. (Read the book and you will understand what I am talking about). This book was offered by a dear friend of mine, who herself is a mother of multiples.
Book: Here We Go ‘Round the Year. I will not claim that this is the best book of all time, but desperate time, desperate measure. We used what we had at hand and turned into an opportunity to learn something new.
Hickory Dickory Clock
My girls taking online music sessions offered by their daycare. Instead of just giving them the screen, we sit with all the items the music teacher refers to in the songs like a drum, a cat, a panda, a clock, a scarf, etc. However, when they sang Hickory Dickory Dock with her, they want to hold a clock. I could have given them watch to hold but thought of turning this “demand” into an activity. So, we made a CLOCK in our art room as it involved cutting, pasting, and other materials. You need:
- Wooden sticks
- Any plain paper and glue
- Decorative items
- Pen to write numbers
I asked them what shape they want to make for the clock. They chose the circle. So this is what we made. 🙂
The sky is opening up in Portland, Oregon. We are out in our balcony potting cilantro and mustard greens. I did not have many supplies, so I chose these plants as the seeds were readily available. I used the Youtube video by Ekta Chaudhary. I found it a very simple and doable exercise with my toddlers. Now, if you have twins or multiples, make sure you have at least two plants to grow to avoid any conflict. Again, choose your battles!
So why this activity? Well,, children can practice locomotor skills, body management skills and object control skills while they move from one place to the other carrying tools, soil and water. Fine motor skills such as whole-hand grasping and the pincer grasp (necessary skills for writing) are employed in gardening when children use a trowel or rake and pick up tiny seeds to plant. Further, being outdoors in the fresh air and moving around a lot is a good way to get exercise. It also provides sensory stimulation. Feeling the texture of the soil or the plant leaves is also interesting, as is the smell of the fresh garden and its plants.
For me, I am looking to provide my kids to nurture and care for something other than their “bunny”, “panda”, and “kitty” toys. I am so done with them! 🙂 They have started calling them “baby plants :).”
These activities helped me keep my toddler twins busy the last few days. And it was a fun learning experience for me and the girls.
Until next time – stay safe, stay healthy!