It has been a little quiet on the blog lately. This past month our little one has been struggling with cold and flu–such is the time of the year as the season changes. After the brutal winter and unforgiving beginning of spring in the lower Midwest, I have deemed it necessary to find creative ways to keep our sanity without making our house even more chaotic… because who has time for that? Let’s face it when you can’t go outside it too easy for us all to become zombies to technology (and yes, totally guilty at times).
I thought I would write about a few different ways I have incorporated elements specifically to helping my toddler learn and create, without the headache of messes or constant helicopter parenting. During nap time, I made a quick YouTube video explaining three of these elements.
1. Create spaces with intentionality. When we renovated our entry/living room focal wall, I wanted shiplap but then I also had an idea to incorporate something that would last us several years in the learning department–a chalkboard. Chalk is the perfect art medium to allow your kiddo to get messy. Why? It cleans up in a few seconds. No need to worry about messes, repainting walls, or jumping in the bathtub.
When creating this space I wanted shiplap, a mantle to decorate, and a place for the kiddo to keep entertained while I was busy doing chores like, cooking supper. I love that it keeps her entertained while inspiring her to stay creative.
“We were all born artists, the trick is remaining one.”
2. Incorporate texture. Sensory play is vital in allowing your child to learn about the world around them. Even more so if your child is young. Learning about the world around them through touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing helps harness fine motor skills. Here’s a quick article I found on sensory play from early childhood educators: https://www.educationalplaycare.com/blog/sensory-play-important-development/
3. Give responsibility and learn from the outdoors. After this brutal winter I made sure I adopted several house plants. Why? For sanity. On a serious note, I have noticed that my child learns so much when we are outdoors, playing. She loves gardening with me–helping to water, plant, and harvest. It gives her a new way to learn, teaches responsibility, and inspires her to ask questions.
Responsibility is maybe controversial for some parents. In my personal opinion responsibility and yes, chores (even at 2) are a critical part in making sure my child grows up to be a responsible, intelligent adult. While there are countless ways to teach responsibility, I use the example of a house plant. An easy way to teach responsibility is to have a house plant that your child can help water and care for. Don’t have a green thumb? The easiest plant to care for is a snake plant–it rarely needs watered but a kiddo as young as 2 can help water every few weeks. This teaches responsibility for a living thing and inspires curiosity.
Here are some basic chores any toddler can do to teach responsibility:
-Throw away trash.
-Put away toys.
-Throw dirty clothes in hamper.
-Help with Cleaning: vacuuming, sweeping (hold dust pan or Swiffer), dusting.
-Helping make beds.
-Helping care for plants, gardening, and just being helpful.
Obviously, there are a plethora of ways you can help your child learn. These are just three of a million tips I have incorporated in one small area of our home. How will you inspire creativity, learning, and responsibility in your child? Comment with some ideas below. Find more ideas by subscribing to my YouTube channel, following me on Instagram, and Pinterest.