Baking with sensitive ears – no problem
I had to work yesterday when Vancouver got hit with the annual ONE Day of snow. I enviously watched my Facebook feed of family and friends playing in their backyards building snowmen and plopping into the snow to make snow angels.
As usual today the temperature is warmer and the snow is slushy. On the way to give Auntie Robin her gift Little A picked up some snow and threw a snowball at me and started laughing her little head off. OH GAME ON! I picked up a bit of snow – hey good packing snow.
We were going to make a snowman, not just any snowman – a rainbow snowman. We built a snowman, went hunting for rocks and branches, grabbed a carrot and some cranberries – for the nose and eyes of course.
Then I grabbed her paint and it was time to make this snowman the coolest dude on the block. Little A was so engrossed in painting her snowman. She made buttons, pants, painted a smile, added hair and cheeks.
Who needs fresh snow! We had a Blast outside!
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There are two things Little A loves right now: using a spray bottle and coins. I thought I’d switch up the window cleaning she usually asks to do and use this time to learn about money. My low windows were cleaned the other night so we were good in that department.
I also like to find activities that don’t take any artistic “talent” from me because its too much pressure for me. I am craft-phobic.
But lets go back to Little A’s money cleaning. She is learning what coins look like… what is a toonie, a loonie, a quarter, a dime, a nickel and a penny.
I emptied some change onto her table and Little A got to choose which one she wanted to “clean” first.
I let Little A figure out how she wanted to play this game. I think it is important to let her create her own play, I want to encourage her to think/create on her own. Oh who am I kidding -I had no real idea how how I was going to have this time play out. So I told her to clean one at a time so we could talk about it. How she cleaned it was up to her.
She started with a wipe and laid it out on the table, then squirted the heck out of it.
Next she picked out a coin and laid it on the wipe then folded the wipe over and over in a precise manner, well as precise as a two year old can. She obviously had a plan, glad someone did.
The next step was letting her clean it however she wanted. Happy as a bee!
After that we looked at the money and what each side was so she’d recall what a ship was or what a beaver, or loon etc. Little A enjoyed when she got the coins correct.
It was an easy little lesson on money without feeling like I was a tiger mom and pushing learning on her. Maybe she’ll take an interest in coins and be able to hang out with her djudgi (my dad) as he’s a collector.
As a parant you have the privilege of watching your child grow and develop into their own person. Sure Little A is currently in the “terrible 2’s” stage but I think it is so much more than just the temper tantrums – it is also a new stage where they begin to develop relationships with other children.
As a full time working mom I don’t get much time to do a lot of play dates on the weekends. Now so many of my friends with kids have full weekends running to soccer, ballet or swimming on top of grocery shopping, laundry and visiting family.
Lucky us – this past weekend we had a play date with one of Little A’s friends. Isla and Little A have known each other all their lives (hahah cracks me up) but never really did much interacting previously.
In my opinion, early infant play dates are more about mommies getting together to bond and talk about the development of their kids, the lack of sleep etc. Their kids usually play with the toys, only noticing their playmates beside them every once in a while. This is because at that age they can only focus at one thing at a time and out of site really is “out of site, out of mind”.
But now in they’re 3 (Isla) and 2 1/2 (Little A). They are beginning to co-play it is absolutely entertaining to watch.
When children extend their knowledge and play experiences they move into “Associative Play”. In this stage kids start playing together albeit in a loosey goosey fashion rather than in any organized way.
Little A is learning to play tag. Isla being a bit older knows the game well. We spent a good part of an afternoon together at the park watching these two laugh hysterically as they chased each other all around the playground and took turns being it.
Near the end of our visit us we asked if the girls wanted to give each other hugs. The comedy with these two never ends. They not only hug but they hug with vigour and pizzaz! There is true passion in their friendship. The car ride home was the loudest car ride ever, they were egging each other on on who could say silly words loudest.
I do believe these two will have a long friendship and continue to have many laughs for years to come.
I recently went to my first parenting seminar. Modern Momma held an intimate gathering of mothers whose children ranged from just over a year and to teenagers. The seminar was “The Value of Play” and focused on children and unstructured play. The speaker was Margery Healey of the Compassionate Parent Coach
What did I learn? Free play creates the ability to visualize and creative expression which will aid in gaining confidence and self actualization. Sounds heavy but I remember this is about play and hopefully I can explain the key notes i took from listening to Margery.
Let Little A play. Sounds like an easy concept. Thru play Little A can develop life skills – she will learn to think within her own thoughts, to ponder pros and cons, and to figure out the next step, stage or engagement in the process of play. I don’t have to be involved – this is hard for both of us… She is very “mom” oriented and I know I cater to that as well. I learned I can be close by reading a book, sipping a latte watching, or in another room completely prepping dinner.
Another big part of free play is Image Making. I don’t have to lead the story, if I lead every play time how will she learn to use her brain to create her own visualizations. Does my boss tell me how to do every step of my job. No , the work place is made for independent thinkers, manage your own time, make your own decision. I must give Little A the freedom to develop image making. This will be harder for me to learn. I’m a talker and I want to help with her imagination. But l’m not reading a Choose Your Own Adventure Book here -This is her life, her development. Visualization/Image making is a learned skill that can be gained from listening to audio books and having Little A describe what she heard. No audio books, it was suggested I can even read books but not show her the pictures or she can play on her own.
A big “ah ha” moment for me at the parenting seminar was learning that Boredom is not a bad thing. Margery had a great concept of “the boredom chair” -The idea is that when your child says “I”m Bored” to let your child sit in a “boredom chair” until they – on their own – think of something to do. A challenge for them to overcome on their own. When Little A is old enough to say “I’m bored” I’m implementing the boredom chair. It isn’t up to me to solve the issue of Boredom. It is up to her. No leading her by suggesting to play blocks, or go color. Again it is up to her. I may have to tape my mouth shut to stop myself.
Margery said “The first thing they learn is that they are unsure as to what they would like to do and this is a challenge. When they solve their own challenge they see themselves as an individual who can work through a problem. Not only do they gain confidence in themselves by doing this, they also learn their likes and dislikes, they tap into pure unrestricted intrinsic motivation and they choose things that have meaning to them”. How inspiring is it to be a part of that sort of development, to watch your child gain all that richness on their own.
Free play allows for creative expression. A child is able to see themselves as capable of creating their own ideas and then having the ability to elaborate on them. I look forward to watching Little A grow older and develop her ability to share her ideas, to learn the give and take of playing with her friends.
It is amazing how a simple thing like independent play teaches a child to be expressive with their individual thoughts and ideas, to know what they like and what they do not like, to create confidence in themselves and have confident in their ability to make choices and to stand by their choices. That is self actualization. My daughters development is now even more exciting to watch… if I could just keep my mouth shut.
p.s. Modern momma has more Parenting seminars that I would highly recommend attending. Check their upcoming events for more