I think this thread needs reviving! With the boards down and our generally chaotic lives, we seem to be losing significant amounts of steam here, so I thought I'd post a few ideas for this week. If your turn is coming up and you're feeling like there are no good ideas left, try revisiting some of the old ideas but add a twist of your own . . . like I'm about to do!
Household Collage: This was the first idea I posted and I admit, I never did it! So in desperation this weekend I salvaged a magazine from the recycling bin and cut out pictures of babies (as multi-racial as possible). I put them up on the kitchen cabinets after ds went to bed and in the a.m. he was ASTONISHED! And I promise that in 3 minutes he was saying "Babies! Babies!" and this was not a word we'd ever heard him say before. And then he had fun peeling off the tape and ripping down the pix, so I figure it was a good fine motor activity, too. So I'm reviving this idea and will try to do it once a week. And this was after I thought it was a lame idea! Give it a try!
Homemade Blocks: Also one of my first ideas . . . well after months of saving up boxes, I sat down last night and covered about 20 boxes in solid-color wrapping paper. I built a tower that ds discovered this a.m. and he was thrilled. BUT, he then had almost 30 minutes of fun by carefully ripping off the colorful paper! SILLY ME! THEY LOOKED LIKE PRESENTS!
: Oh well, it entertained him AND he used that little pincer grasp!
Daddy's Morning Surprise: My amazing dh has started an awesome tradition at our house: Every night after ds goes to bed, and as we're putting away toys, he builds something out of ds's blocks and leaves it for him to discover in the morning. This is becoming so special to us all -- ds giggles with glee and does his happy dance when he sees it (SO CUTE!) and dh emails me, dying to find out what ds's reaction was! (He goes to work b4 ds and I get up.) Ds approaches the creations with wonder, and is very careful not to knock them down for a while . . . It's almost like a "Daddy wuz here" statue . . . and the structures oftentimes give ds ideas about new ways to use the blocks. Part of me wants this to be a special thing that only we do, but it's such a lovely thing for ds and dh to share, I wanted you all to pass it on your s.o.'s, if you'd like.
Blocks Go Horizontal: I just realized recently that we have been building towers with ds for months, if not a year now, and yet we never build horizontal structures. So lately we have modeled lining the blocks up on the floor, or making them into a long "train" that ds can push. (I'm a little torn about this, bc I feel certain Joseph Chilton Pearce would say that we should leave this to the children to discover for themselves, but I did this in a moment when I felt like we needed to buy new toys bc ds was burning out on his blocks. So pick your evil, I suppose.) The wonderful thing is that the next day I walked into the living room to find this amazing Stonhenge-like figuration of blocks -- individual blocks standing on end, positioned around the room -- and it was truly one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. (Isn't it cool how the smallest things can make your heart sing?!?!)
Makeshift Easel: We are really wanting to buy an easel for ds, but can't afford one. They're wonderful for children bc they help them develop upper body strength -- I mean, think about it: drawing on a piece of paper on the floor is totally different from drawing on an upright surface. So we have taped a large sheet of paper (see my newsprint suggestion earlier) onto the fridge and ds draws w/his washable crayons while I cook. Yes, he colors on the fridge, too, but these crayons wipe right off. It's a great makeshift easel for now!
Old-Timey Clothespin Fun: Remember those old-fashioned clothespins that look like little people? I had a bag sitting around from my old K teacher days and opened it for ds so he could experiment with putting them on the edge of a plastic container (got this idea from a book). It's good fine motor bc he has to line up the pin opening w/the lip of the container, and then also has to push pretty firmly to get it to stay on. I know you'll probably have to buy these, but they're good for many projects to come (see below).
Dust Under the Fridge: Ds got 2 child-sized brooms for Xmas. He LOVES to sweep and is quite good at it. In fact, he has successfully swept ALL of the brand-new refrigerator magnets UNDER the fridge. Yes folks, they're gone forever (until the Cleaning Fairy comes to my house to move that darn thing!). But this gave me an idea to intentionally put stuff on the kitchen floor for him to sweep (i.e. alphabet blocks, clothespins, beans for older children who won't eat them!). And if you really wanna challenge them, make a big square (or triangle, or rectangle, or octagon, etc.) on the floor with masking tape and show child how to sweep the objects into the shape. I know there's some potential here for making this into a game for older children -- masking tape and kitchen floors are a great combo!
Highchair Water Play: (more fun while you're cooking!) Got one of those bowls with a suction cup? After child has eaten, fill it with warm water and let her splash around in it. Give her spoons and cups w/ a little more water and let her pour. Add something to the water (edible, like frozen blueberries, or not, like plastic shapes) and give her a slotted spoon to scoop the things out. If your highchair tray has a nice lip, you can even keep refilling the bowl for a while. And the end result will be sparkling clean hands with no fuss!
Hope something here inspires someone! If you have variations on any of the above, post away!
Happy days to you all!
P.S. I know there's plenty of interest in dividing this thread up into 2 threads: one for older and one for younger children (like 12-24 months, and 24+) -- I'll keep running the younger thread, but no one has volunteered to oversee the older thread. Any takers? It's not that much work!