Wednesday, August 31, 2011

activity time

I spent the whole summer trying to get the kids out of the house, on fun adventures, exploring. It didn't even cross my mind that there are some nifty little things they can do at home!

This post also comes after a weekend of feeling tired and hoping my kids would either play happily with their toys or take a nap. 

And it comes while I'm recently back to work and don't get to see my kids nearly enough!

I was feeling guilty. I google searched something like, "things to do with 18-month-olds,"

Somehow I ended up on one of those sites where someone posts a question (similar to my search) and a bunch of people answer.  I don't think I could find it again to link up to it right now.  But someone responded with this suggestion among many others:

~Give them large beads with large holes. Have them thread the beads onto a chopstick, then onto a pipe cleaner, then onto a shoe string.~

That didn't seem too difficult and what a neat way of working on fine motor skills using different levels of difficulty.

Here are the supplies I used for my modified version:
- wooden skewers. Cut the sharp tip off and place/glue a very tight fitting bead on one end.
- wooden beads
- pipe cleaners
- shoe strings

Tuesday after picking up the boys late again. 5:30. We headed straight to walmart to get our supplies. We had wooden skewers at home so I spent about $6 for the rest.

I set up shop at the kiddie table in the playroom while the boys turned on the DVD player in the living room and were busy dancing to their second cousin's band video. They get a little irritated if you try to stop them from doing something they are enjoying so I energetically told the kids to, "Come on!  Come help momma! Come look at this!" 

They joined me in the playroom and enthusiastically climbed into their chairs to see what was in store.
I gave each boy his own bowl of beads and his own stick.  They just started exploring the items so I demonstrated putting the bead on the stick. Then I helped each boy put a bead in one hand and the stick in the other and encouraged him to try. 

They got the idea. They really concentrated! But I thought for sure, this would be easy for them so I wanted to have the pipe cleaner and shoe string ready for levels 2 and 3.


I think my kids have been too busy running and jumping to bother with any fine motor skills.

Don't be fooled by the number of beads on the stick below.  They did some, but momma did some, too.
I loved seeing them so focused on something.  I traded them the pipe cleaners for the sticks but by this point they were no longer interested in threading the beads.  Of course their attention spans only last so long so after concentrating as long as they possibly could, they just had to start experimenting.

Take the beads off the stick.
Dump the beads on the table.
Put the beads back in the bowls.

Stir the bowl of beads with the stick.
Stand all the beads up on their sides.
Throw the beads.
Lick the beads.
(Please monitor this activity carefully so beads don't end up in their mouths!)

So I suddenly had a great idea!  We moved to the floor and I dumped all the beads in a pile.  I put a few beads of one color in one bowl and a few of the other color in the other bowl.  I showed them how to pick up a bead and put it in the bowl with the matching beads.  Totally thought I was so clever with my bead-matching idea. Yeah. No. They aren't quite ready for that one yet. They paid zero attention to colors! But they loved rushing to put all the beads back into the bowls!

My search also lead me to the Chasing Cheerios blog. This mom has so many awesome ideas for quick, easy, learning activities for a variety of ages. They are very montessori school inspired. She has a 1 year old and a 5 year old. 

My personality type makes me want to get all these ideas down, buy all the supplies immediately, do several of them in one sitting with the kids, you know, crazy talk.  And this would definitely lead to disappointment. So I'm going to try one a week.  That's my plan anyway!

1 comment:

  1. Great idea. I love the chasing cheerios blog too, though at 18 months my boys are still a little young for most of the activities.