My sweet natives are getting restless. So mama’s come up with some new activities for her two, almost three‘s. Clean activities. Good fun that doesn’t involve paint, dough, or not-so-magic markers. What quantifies as a good activity? Sure, there’s the learning aspect, wanting a single activity to build imaginations and encourage pretend, work on language and rhyming, perhaps get some real everyday life skills in there, a wee bit of fine motor skill work. But really? An activity is good when your child can do it for a long ass time. Nope, fit-throwing isn’t technically an activity, or I would’ve listed it on my resume years ago. Here are three games I’ve created for the radishes this week:
1. THE FLANNEL BOARD. Okay, so I haven’t technically purchased a board or staple gunned yards of flannel to one, but I have begun to create clothes and "paper" dolls for the wee ones to dress and move about on a large sheet of stiff felt. Dolls and clothes of different sizes, just like mama’s life and closet. Then I took Lucas’s favorite book these days and created felt images found throughout his Caboose book. When I read it to them now, I ask them to find the felt pieces that match the pictures on the page, encouraging them to add them to the "board" when they see them. Their little fingers hold the pieces up when I turn to the page they had been anticipating. "Look, Mama, the trestle." I’ll have you know before reading Lucas’s train books, I’d maybe have thought a trestle was a type of dress bustle… a distinguished one, say when you’re marring, not a Jr. but a III. Now we all know better.
2. OH, SO THAT’S WHAT CLOTHESPINS ARE FOR.
Love to love this activity because, quite frankly, I’ve never had a use for clothes pins in my entire life. Sure I’d seen people use them in movies, mostly to pinch their nostrils as they tried to guzzle down a concoction. I purchased them a lifetime ago after reading an organization article, recommending that you sort your bills into piles of paid (to be filed) and urgent, and then also piles for all clothes receipts, one for electronics, and so forth, labeling each pin, clamping the bills in, then pinning them to the sides of a jar. I’m pretty sure I still have the original receipts to my microwave… from my dorm. In college. The only other time the clothespins came out? For a baby shower we threw, where I asked my assistant to hang the clothes up for decoration. For the record, I wasn’t alone. She had no idea how to use a clothespin either. I always just flung clothes over the shower door, or put them on a hanger. Well, not these kids of mine. They are gonna know, sure enough, what in the hell to do with a clothespin! "You give the tiny crocodile a squeeze, Mama. And you find its match!" So that’s the name of the game: color match, which forces the taters to focus on discerning one color from the next, and they can work on their fine motor skills. Best of all, Mama gets to leave the store with lots of paint cards (pick up two of each card, then cut and glue strips from one of the cards atop the clothespin and have the little one find the matching color on the card).
3. SOME THINGS ARE BEST FORGOTTEN. But when you want them to remember the names and faces of loved ones far away, why not create a personalized memory game with photos of family and friends? I printed photos of step-sisters, cousins, all the grandparents (and their pets!)–printed them all twice, then cut them into cards, and finally laminated every last one. Was it a time-consuming bitch to do? Like I said, some things are best forgotten.
A YEAR AGO: If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive
4 YEARS AGO: Praise
5 YEARS AGO: Stink, Selling It