Thursday, July 14, 2011

Toys? We don't need no stinkin' toys!

As my mom's visit is winding down I've been trying to take note of all her techniques, talent and genius.  Especially where the kids are concerned. while my mom is amazed by the crafts and projects I get together to do with the kids, I find it more amazing how busy she keeps them with little to nothing.  Yes I get inspired by many of the other mommy bloggers with their crafting know how and many toddler geared websites.  There is a lot out there to spark an idea (or sometimes just take and use) for some fun time with your toddlers but by the time I find a new idea and get supplies my mom has already made up 2 or 3 games with my little ones.  So I'd like to share some of these tips and tricks with you.

1.) Never underestimate a toddlers imagination.  Ok so although we all know kids have a vast imagination and we all encourage and support it how often do we use this to our advantage??  Here is where again my mother is a genius! The kids wanted to go outside on what was an extremely HOT day with a definite promise of storms ahead.  My little man started talking about going outside and throwing rocks in the pond.   So my mother starts throwing imaginary rocks in an imaginary pond in our living room all of a sudden this little boy is saying "wow! look how far that went." and "did you see that?" No more whining to go outside he didn't even think about it and he did that activity for about 30 min.  It was better than going to the pond... no bugs or sweat and an endless supply of perfect rocks! And for those kids who need a little more than just imagination you could get out a blue sheet and make some brown paper "rocks" for throwing. What a simple idea for a rainy day.

2.) Now that they're talking.... WORD GAMES! I'm not quite sure where these games started but one morning I awoke to my son saying "na na na TV"  followed by " NA NA NA... (about a million other things)"  And my mom would join in and finally explained that you  sing that little diddy and then add a word of something that you see.  My son and daughter love this and it happens almost daily now... it also gets them asking what things are called that they don't know!  

Another game my son calls "I like".  Simple you say I like (anything you like for food to animals to games to people" and the other person says "Me too!" and then something they like. That's it! and yet it is completely entertaining and you learn things about each other.

Best thing about these word games are you can play them anywhere. Just think of car rides and waiting rooms! Also these are great for when you're trying to do a chore and your kids want to play a game since you can walk and do this and no hands are needed to play.  

3.) Stories aren't just for bed time. While I have to admit this isn't quite a new idea for me or probably for you I am sharing it because it was by far one of my son's favorite parts of this visit.  My mom and little man made up a story together all about him.  She would get the plot going and let him put in all the details.  He drove a motorcycle (to my dismay he picked that vehicle himself) and decided what color it was. And went visiting relatives he'd sat who and what they did and my mom would add in things here and there.  We'd catch him acting out the story while playing in his room.  His best friend in the story is now the name that he calls his Teddy Bear!  And so the story is now also a game.  We keep adding more and more to the story and loves it! I was thinking that one day we'll write it down and when he get's a little older he can illustrate it and save it. Great if your kid is already old enough to do this. You can even scan the pictures and make a real book online for them to have! 

4.) SING IT! This is actually not one of my moms ideas.  When she arrived my kids had been OBSESSED with this old episode of blues clues where they sing song games (you can download it on itunes here!)  My mom helped me remember some of the others that we liked when I was a kid so that Id didn't have to sing the same 3 over and over again. They really like it when we pretend to forget the words or sing the wrong words and they have to help us.

So there are just 4 really great we don't need no stinkin' toys ideas! Enjoy them on a rainy day or a long car ride or even just a way to stay in the air conditioning a little longer today.

Have a fabulous day!

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