Hey folks! It's been a VERY long time since I've done a post specifically for Toddler Discovery Time! Compared to what we have been doing the past few months (in a nutshell, moving a lot, if you haven't read) I would have much rather have been working on fun posts like these and doing more crafty things with Myka! Anyways, onto today's topic...
I've been thinking a lot lately about how many parents seem to think their children need complicated toys to keep them entertained or "kid activities" (for lack of a better way to put it) for them to learn. Looking at our society as a whole and certain commercials on tv, it's easy to see why a lot of parents think this way. However, there is much to be learned from simple toys (or even "non-toy toys"!) and everyday activities around the house.
As I've mentioned before, I am really interested in the Montessori educational philosophy (and a growing interest in Waldorf education, as well). The activity pictured above is one I've seen many variations of around Pinterest and the internet in general when looking up Montessori based activities for young children. I've been meaning to get the "materials" for this for awhile now and just recently got around to it. (I know. Who doesn't have ice cube trays? Technically I do, but they're used for other crafty stuff at the moment.) I got the ice cube trays in a set of 3 and the tongs for cheap at the Dollar General store.
Myka really enjoyed doing this activity because she has always had rather good fine motor control for her age. I was worried about her getting frustrated with the small size of the holes, but she did fine. You can do all sorts of variations on this, using just about anything you can think of to sort. I've seen people have their older preschoolers use tweezers instead of tongs. Also once they are older, you can ask you child to sort their items according to color, size, number, etc. No matter what age, this is a great activity for working on attention span/concentration, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, etc.
Myka has also enjoyed helping me out with household chores for as long as she's been able to, which until recently was mostly laundry and sweeping. I'm not sure how it got started, but several months ago she started wanting to throw trash away. (She has actually thrown a fit on several occasions if it's something we don't want her touching, therefore us not letting her do it. O.o)
In typical little kid fashion, she started getting whiny when John and I were baking something a few weeks ago because she wanted to do what we were doing. He actually gave in before I did (have I mentioned I'm a little OCD about messes?!) and let her have her own bowl of flour and a spoon to play with. She LOVED it. I got a wild hair up my butt today and let her "help" me wash dishes for the first time. She thought that was pretty cool too, especially since she's obsessed with bubbles, thanks to my mom. And to be honest, it actually made washing dishes a lot more enjoyable. (Probably because she behaved and washing dishes is one of my least favorite things to do, but I'll take it. ;) )
Besides the fact that kids enjoy doing what adults do, letting them help out with chores at an early age promotes responsibility, self-esteem, accountability, feeling more involved with family, and the list goes on. Plus, it can be just plain fun sometimes letting your little ones help with otherwise mundane chores that need done. (Did I mention I really hate washing dishes?)
What chores do you let your little ones help out with?