Tag Archives: toddlers

Too Old to Crawl

The youngest baby in our group does not yet walk.  I expect that he will be walking soon – he stands to play but still prefers to crawl or scoot when there’s somewhere he wants to be. Some of the older children have taken to crawling now too.  On seeing this one parent responded by saying ‘Hey, you’re too old to crawl’.

Nope.  In fact, I’m waaay older and I crawl too.

You see, the youngest baby has only been here for a couple weeks.  He’s still a little clingy.  He’s content to play as long as I am sitting.  I don’t need to be close to him but if I stand he will scoot over to me and expect to be picked up. The quicker I respond the less severe the meltdown will be.

Two other toddlers have noticed this and are concerned the baby is getting too much ‘air time’.  They are faster and can generally reach me before the baby does. I drop to the ground and there’s a brief period where all three of them jostle for a position on my lap.  After everyone is certain I’m not leaving or excluding anyone they all return to playing.  It takes forever for me to get anything done.

I cannot carry three infants/toddlers every time I walk across the room – the ice pack on my back is proof that I’m too old for that.  So, I crawl – I’m not too old to crawl.  Soon I will be able to walk again.

It’s What They Like to Do

It took almost all summer for the school-age children to stop asking me where ‘missing’ toys were.  They claimed they had looked where the desired toy belonged and it was not there.  They had checked and no one else was using it – it was missing.

I asked if they had checked the washing machine.  They would then go look in the washing machine and be surprised to find many ‘missing’ items.

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“How did you know it would be there?” they asked

Missing toys were always there.  I explained that every day when the toddlers came in the playroom they would take toys from the shelves, put them in the washer, and then go play elsewhere.  Often, these toys were then missed at clean-up time because they were hidden from view.

Granted, it may have taken the older children so long to learn this because we were outside most of the summer.  I have spent more time indoors with the toddlers during the school year.  It is not just the currently enrolled toddlers that do this – the ones before them did too.  It’s what they like to do.

I know toddlers enjoy filling containers and dumping them out.  I know they like collecting toys and hauling them around.  Because of this I have many baskets and bags specifically for this purpose.  These are just a few of them;

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Why the toddlers liked putting things in the washing machine was somewhat confusing though.  They couldn’t dump it out and they couldn’t carry it around.  They were not using the washer as a toy bin because they didn’t do it at clean-up time only when they first came in the room.  Maybe they were hiding toys.

I saw this interesting room divider on Pinterest.  It gave me the inspiration for something similar for the playroom.  I used heavy cardboard tubes that I painted first before attaching them together.  I had small tubes too but I chose not to use them because they would be too small for any toys to fit inside and I hoped things would get put in the tubes.

I have the ‘divider wall’ in the block area under the loft so of course the first things that got put in the tubes were blocks;

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I did purposely leave some larger spaces for the bigger toys but so far the children just like using the smaller tubes;

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It has only been a week since these tubes were added to the playroom so we’re still experimenting.  It’s another option for the little ones to sort and store toys.  It’s what they like to do.

The Delightful Mistake

I wanted to do some type of play dough/sensory activity with the infants and toddlers but didn’t have the time to make a batch of cooked dough.  However, I did have some flour and baby oil to make cloud dough – such an easy recipe.

I starting adding flour to a bowl containing the baby oil.  At first it was a little too sticky and wet so I added more flour.  Then it was too dry – this was a problem because I had no more baby oil left.  I considered other liquid options.

Vegetable oil would work but it would make the dough turn yellowish and I was hoping to keep it white for now.  I wasn’t sure what plain water might do to the texture of the cloud dough and I didn’t want to experiment at the moment due to the limited time I had.

I decided to check the cupboards to see what other liquids I could find.  First I had to wash the dry flour mixture off my hands though.  As I rubbed my hands together with the soap and water I made a discovery.  The white cream soap could be the perfect liquid for the dough.

It took a little trial and error to get the texture just right.  Too dry – add more soap.  Too wet – add more flour.  I was slightly concerned that it may just be an endless cycle but it didn’t really take long to get the perfect consistency.

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At first the toddlers only poked at it.  Even with rolling pins and play dough tools they still prefer to simply poke the dough or tear off little pieces.  I provided some tissue paper for them to tear up and add to their dough.

This was why I wanted to leave the dough white.  I know when we use glue with tissue paper the dye from the paper tends to transfer onto hands and other surfaces.  Usually I find this a little annoying but this time I thought it could be helpful.  I hoped that as the children mixed little pieces of tissue paper to the dough the dye would spread through the dough.

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It didn’t.  I guess that the dough wasn’t wet enough to release the dye from the paper.  The little flecks of colour still looked pretty and the children enjoyed adding the little paper pieces.

We also discovered that the addition of the cream soap instead of more baby oil made the dough stretchy.  Wonderfully pliable without falling apart even when the infants waved it about;

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Then I gave them each a small container.  Their favorite activity is putting stuff in containers and taking it out again.  This amused the little ones and extended the activity for much longer.

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Even though it didn’t necessarily go as planned it was still a wonderful engaging activity.

 

Weekend Outing

Last Sunday was Open Farm Day.  First off I must say that I was thrilled to have found out about the event before it actually occured instead of from an evening news report after the event is already over.

My only complaint was that the event was held on the weekend when I had no children with me – well, two of my sons tagged along but they’re really young adults not children.  We didn’t have much time – weekends are busy times – so we only went to one of the participating farms.

With a time limit on our excursion we needed to pick a farm that was nearby.  It was an easy decision – Perimeter Alpacas – because alpacas are basically the same as llamas and we LOVE llamas.  Granted, alpaca isn’t nearly as fun to say as llama but seriously, look at them;

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SQUEEEE! I just want to hug them;

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I managed to drag myself away from the alpacas long enough to see some ducks and and a peacock family too – pretty birds but not soft and fluffy like an alpaca.

There were some other displays and sales of products from the farm.  I bought a stuffie – handmade from alpaca fleece.  After I paid for it the woman asked “Do you want a bag or are you just going to cuddle it all the way home?” — silly question;

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Of course I would have preferred an alpaca shaped stuffie – they had one but it was out of my price range.  Still, I do love this one too.  My cats also love it but they’d like to shred it so I have to keep it out of their reach.

I’ve brought the stuffie out for the children to see/feel.  It would be irrelevant to try to ‘teach’ them anything about alpacas without any actual experience with alpacas.  However, it has been very useful for our discussions about ‘gentle’.  With four infants/toddlers ‘gentle’ has become an important part of our curriculum.

Be gentle and take turns – difficult lessons even for me when you’ve got something so lovely that you just want to squish it and never let go.

A Period of Adjusment

School has begun again – for me this is somewhat sad.  I’m going to miss the long periods of uninterrupted free play.  I’m going to miss watching the interaction between the preschoolers and the school-age children.

Yes, I’m excited for the older children heading off to new adventures.  I’m also looking forward to being able to focus more attention on the little ones and planning some activities specifically for their developmental levels.  I’m eagerly anticipating the autumn leaves and yes, even the winter snow – these are such wonderful sensory experiences for the children (and me).

September brings many changes; changing seasons, variable weather, different schedules, new friends and more.  As I was making my grocery list for the upcoming weeks’ menus I realized that there are some changes needed there too.

With the larger group here over the summer I needed to double many of the recipes to ensure we had enough food for meals. Last school year I had no school-aged children here for lunch but I did have several preschoolers with good appetites.  This year’s preschool group is much younger and I again have no school-age children here for lunch.  Even without doubling recipes there will be far too many leftovers from the current menu.

It’s time to revamp the menu again.  I’m going to remove some of the items that cannot be scaled down for the younger/smaller group.  I want to add menu items that encourage the infants and toddlers to be more independent at meal times – menu items that can be easily scooped onto a spoon or picked up by tiny fingers.

We’re going to need more cooked vegetables.  The raw veggies and dip are magnificently nutritious but can be too difficult for many of the toddlers to chew. Salads are not popular with this little group – that doesn’t mean they won’t be served but they won’t be the only vegetable offered with a meal.

Yes, it’s time for me to go back to some old menu favourites and begin trying some new items too.   Let the experiments begin – mealtime science during a period of adjustment.

Painted Pumpkin

Halloween 2012 is now history.  It was a very quiet Halloween night – we only had about on third of the trick or treaters that we normally get around here.

I will admit that Halloween is my least favourite of all the holidays but that doesn’t mean that we don’t celebrate it.  I did have most of my decorations up early this year – three weeks ago.  I also bought the pumpkins early but we didn’t do anything with them until yesterday. Part of the problem may have been that, of the 11 full or part time children that attend, the ones that are most interested in Halloween activities are not the ones who are here much.

I like to use pumpkins as a sensory activity for the children and we like to bake with them too.  We usually choose a pumpkin decorating activity that doesn’t involve carving it so we can still use the innards for food.  I found some really amazing pumpkin decorating ideas here.

However, with mostly just infants and toddlers here for the day any elaborate decorating techniques would not be developmentally appropriate.  So, instead we simply painted a pumpkin.

I found it amusing that the biggest problem I had with this activity was getting the little ones to stand up to paint.  Usually the messier the art activity the more likely they are to want to run around.  This time however  just sat, holding their paint brush, and stared at the pumkin on the table.  When I stood them up so they could reach they promptly sat down again.

Eventually they caught on and started painting the pumpkin.  The red paint did not show up well;

The blue was vibrant against the orange of the pumpkin;

We even managed to do some color mixing;

Of course by the end of the activity the pumpkin was mostly greyish brown but we were most interested in the process not the product.