How do you start doing activities with your toddler or preschooler?
I started hands on activities with Henry when he was 2 1/2. I could have started earlier now that I have done activities with George as a baby and now a toddler. But at the time, I didn’t think he was old enough to understand and get involved.
The big question I always had was ‘What activities can he do?’
A good place to start with this age I’ve found, is to do what they love. Expand upon something they’re already engaged in.
For example, Henry loves to farm. He has always been interested in tractors, combines, semis, and anything that has to do with them. So when we brought corn in from the farm, he knew just what to do with it and has since clocked hours and hours of playing with corn, his imagination running wild.
Don’t think you need to be extravagant with activities. Simple is often best! Less is more ( or however you’d like to say it).
Children learn from the simplest ideas.
Often the first thing moms think about how to be more hands on with the kids’ is crafts!
I find crafts are the hardest activities that we do in this house. Henry’s usually not as engaged as he is when we’re doing activities that get us moving. However, when you make the craft interesting and also manageable by them, it becomes more fun for them.
Using contact paper and tissue paper is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers! They’re often fascinated with the stickiness of the contact paper and they’re able to stick the tissue paper on themselves.
That brings up another point. Focus on the process of the activity instead of the end result. Let them explore the materials and run around while doing it.
The process is where kids learn.
The product isn’t nearly as important, especially at this age. Join in the fun while creating and doing activities, your kids will appreciate it and its a special bonding time for you as well!
Remember to keep it short. Most activities only require 15 minutes of your child’s time. Adjust this to their appropriate attention span. But remember that they’re usually quite short, so don’t be disappointed if the first few times you try an activity, they don’t make it through even the short fifteen minutes (or even five!).
And most importantly, please have fun! Let the kids have fun and you too! Enjoy being a hands on mom with me! (And don’t worry about the dishes or the laundry, they’ll still be there later.)
Jamie is a stay at home mom, with two boys who are full of energy. She writes at hands on : as we grow about activities and art she does with her boys. She loves to sneak in learning opportunities during their play and tries her best at focusing on the process of a project, instead of the end goal.!
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Christie-Childhood 101 says
What great tips, Jamie, I think sometimes we tend to make it hard for ourselves but you are completely right when you say ‘simple is best’ :)
This is all great advice!
I am a huge on “process not product” and often cop flak for not being more precious about the finished product :)