When it comes to activities for toddlers, one of my new “feel-good-about-today” strategies is what I’m calling:
The 3-15 chunks. (Love me a good sexy title!)
Most days, I find myself at home and car-less, which sounds like a recipe for quality kid time n’est-ce pas? Then I check my email. And all of a sudden it’s open season on my time as publications, job hunting, laundry and writing suck up the space in my planner.
Too often at the end of the day I used to feel like I could hardly account for my waking hours. Nothing of consequence had been accomplished. I was no better for it, and neither was my Little. There had to be a better way, and I think, for now, I’ve found one that is working really well for us. It requires an investment of about 45 minutes a day.
I spend most of the day in the same room as my son, eating the pretend “pasta” he “makes” with sand toys, laughing at his antics, correcting his behavior, hugging his sweet body and answering his questions, but not entirely present and not particularly engaged (usually working away on my computer). This is where I see the dichotomy between quality of time and quantity of time.
I technically spend all day with the doll, but it used to be the case that I didn’t actually spend it with him. I just had time with him.
This is what I came up with.
I now try to do a minimum of three 15-minute chunks a day with my Little (these can certainly be smaller chunks of time, and sometimes it turns into such a party it lasts for hours). Most weekdays this pans out, some it doesn’t…we just keep rolling.
Activities for Toddlers
15 minutes for some kind of physical activity
- Dance party anyone?
- Kicking around a ball
- Hitting the park
- Running around blowing and catching bubbles outside
- Making and flying paper airplanes or kites
15 minutes for some kind of intellectual activity
- Practicing numbers
- Recognizing letters
- Country capitals (Kabul is literally the cutest word he knows how to say)
- Reading together
- Practicing colors while we draw
- Learning body parts
15 minutes for some kind of spiritual activity
- Explaining something about who God is
- A particular Bible story
- Memorizing short verses
- Praying together
If at the end of the day I have accomplished those things – at this age – I think that it was well used.
Perhaps those of you with multiple kids at different ages and stages at home can weigh in a bit on this and suggest ways to make activities with toddlers work in those situations… but I reckon we’ll either move into teaching the same general thing at different levels simultaneously, or focus on only one or two of those a day with each child independently.
We’ve been doing this for about a month now, and it has made stay-at-home mothering so much more meaningful and fun for us! And seriously, my little sponge-of-a-son blows me away every day with his capacity to understand and remember. If you see him around, ask him the capital of the UAE. *melt*