Home Bodies

After the winter we had of staying indoors all.the.time. I was so ready to be on the move and out of the house. It would be an understatement to say we came down with cabin fever. About the time the weather was turning beautiful and our constant sickness was subsiding Theo started to get into a groove. Which for most mothers is a wonderful thing! Yay, routine! What could be better?! Except for the fact that his two hour morning naps keep us stuck, yet again, indoors. Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful he's finally in a good routine. Two hour nap in the morning, two hour nap in the afternoon, maybe a 30 minute cat nap in the evening, and in bed by 6:30--I couldn't ask for a more perfect routine for the kid. But for Anna who just wants to be set free from the four walls that encloses her she gets bored in about 2.5 seconds after I put Theo down for his morning nap.

I knew I needed to come up with something other than "go find something to do, Anna." I knew I needed to be proactive especially when she's begging me to play with her. "You wanna pay with me, Mommy?" How could I say no? The asking only lasts for so many years until I'm begging her to play with me. We're really considering home schooling in a few years so I began to think "why not start now?" She is only 2 1/2 years old but she's a sponge and I'm observing the earlier she learns the faster it comes.

I started researching and the first place I went to was, of course, Pinterest. I typed in "toddler preschool" and so many pins popped up full of great ideas and resources. Most of the suggestions were super simple and super easy...Carving out intentional time to sit and play with your child while encouraging learning, using materials and toys you already have around the house--no need to go out and buy a bunch of stuff. I found this awesome blog from the Intentional Momma with printables. I immediately printed out the "Super Simple Tot Pack" and stuffed the pages into paper protectors to save on ink and paper. I found Crayola WASHABLE (thank the Lord!) dry erase markers for Anna to write with, added the paper protectors to a binder, and voila! Anna has her own little notebook.

Every day that we're home during Theo's morning nap I try and sit with Anna for about 30-60 minutes playing while inconspicuously encouraging learning. I've started very simple.

One day we may read books.

Other days we may go through her "Super Simple Tot Pack" binder that I mentioned above. It includes letter, number, and shape recognition, tracing, and matching.

We've used bath time to work through our letters.

We've built towers (or wands as Anna would say) out of blocks to separate colors.

Puzzle time has turned into make believe where one time Mommy was the hippo, Daddy was the giraffe, Anna was the ostrich and Theo was the zebra.

Excuse the laundry basket full of clothes--folded, I might add. Multitasking at its finest.

I used paint swatches and clothespins to make a color matching game that, again, turned into make believe where the clothespins are people.

I may be the one bringing out the materials and toys to play with but I allow Anna to lead the playing and learning. I don't want to force it. She's not even 3 yet and by allowing her to lead she feels in control and at the same time is learning so much. I'm shocked every day with what she already knows. My mind is blown that she knows her letters so well, she can count to 20, and her colors are coming along. She can call out blue, orange, and white like it's her job. We're still working on purple, green, and red. As we continue and as she gets older I plan on incorporating more worksheets to her binder and more activities to get her mind thinking. I've thought of doing scavenger hunts inside and outside (close enough to our home where I could still hear Theo if he wakes). I'd like to add activities that work on her eye-hand coordination such as threading laces through cardboard (the paint swatch game is great for working on eye-hand coordination!) More books, more puzzles, more materials that incorporate letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and more. Dancing and songs would be a great addition as well!

Even though we're home bound until Theo grows out of his morning naps I'm excited for the precious time Anna and I have to spend together. It's giving me a taste of what this whole home schooling thing could turn into and that pumps me up. Plus seeing Anna blossom and turn into a intelligent little girl is simply amazing. I don't take for granted one second the fact that I get to stay home with my children. It's been such a blessing and I'm grateful and humbled that I'm the one teaching them.

If you have any other suggestions for Anna and me I'd love to hear them! Again, we're taking it really slow. I plan on implementing a schedule that feels more like preschool come September but for now I'm looking for activities that cost hardly anything and that look more like "play" rather than "school".

1 comment:

  1. Very neat ideas, I'm going to share with my daughter who is expecting. Thank you!