Monday, October 15, 2012

How to keep a big brother busy

Most, if not all, of my time these days is spent with a certain special boy.  He's small, bald, and handsome, and I call him my baby.  With that said, Zach doesn't get as much fun Mommy time as he used to.  We don't get out of the house nearly as often as before, and some days we don't even get out of our pajamas.  I'm not complaining, as I knew this was going to happen after the birth of Elijah.  The downside of this though is that Zach is not getting nearly enough fun time, and I am trying my hardest to get him out of the house or doing something fun as often as I can.  Many days I head down to the park so we can play for a few hours.  But on days that I cant even get the kids together and in the stroller I try to initiate some kind of home activity to foster his learning.  
Today I decided to set up a sensory activity for him in the front yard.  I have learned over the years that most of the time toys aren't worth your money.  The best toys are everyday things in your home.  And perfect timing for this, as I'm currently digging through my house in preparations for our possible move in a few weeks.  As I've dug through my pantry, I discovered a bag of old beans and some rice that we don't eat.  I immediately knew what I was going to do!  
Our sensory learning experience today involved two tupperware containers, a measuring cup, rice, and beans of all colors and sizes.  As many moms know, toddlers- especially boys, love to put things in and out of containers.  And that's exactly what Zach did.  
We began by touching the different beans and rice.  I explained to him that they were all smooth, and showed him that some were bigger then others.  I also showed him the contrast in colors in some of the beans.  We even counted the beans.  I showed him how to count to four lima beans, and he mimicked my counting.  Though it wasn't full words, he got the point that we were counting something and was laying beans aside while counting.  Eventually I just sat back and let him play without my guidance.  He loved every moment of it.  He dug his hands into the beans, he picked fists full up and put it in the other container, and of course- he made a mess!  But a mess that was easy enough to clean up!  
Digging into one container

Mom, I'm playing!

Love that boy!

He tried to eat one.  Apparently it wasn't tasty! 

And the mess begins

OK mom, i'm ready to just dump everything!

The end result.  A quick clean up for so much fun!
We had a ball playing and it kept him busy for a whole 2 hours!  What mom doesn't love that?  Since, we've pulled this out again and he's played again.  We'll keep this activity on the back burner for future use!  
Another activity I created this week to keep Zach busy was this paper magnet pumpkin on our fridge.  I simply cut out a pumpkin from old scrapbook paper, then cut out eyes and a few mouths to try on.  I glued magnets to the back of them and Zach was able to make different Jack o Lanterns!  He played for awhile, but unfortunately the magnets I used weren't very good.  I'll be heading to the store this week to buy better ones for better pumpkin faces!  What an easy and fun activity.  It took me all of 5 minutes to make.  
Our pumpkin on our fridge!
And that my friends is how you entertain a bored toddler.  It doesn't have to cost much, sometimes the best toys are those you have laying around your house already.  I'll be trying to work in some more crafts and activities in the next few weeks to make life with a newborn and a toddler a bit easier.