How to give your toddler water play in the winter months.

If there is one thing all parents can agree on, it’s that children love water, the love to drink it, pour it, lay in it and just about cover everything in it. Child development research shows that water play has essential benefits in child brain development.

Yes it can be messy, wet, and a pain to clean, but it is also a calming and enjoyable exercise for little people. Water play helps in the development of hand-eye coordination, learning to lift, pour. Whilst, they don’t really care about it right now, it sets the foundation for early mathematics and some science concepts, such as differentiating between heavy and light items, those that will sink and those that will float. Water play also allows toddlers to develop concentration and focus as well as some problem solving skills.

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In the summer months and living in countries with warmer climates, this can be easily achieved by allowing little ones outside with a bucket, visiting paddle pools, water fountains, and so on. Water play during the winter months can be challenging until you step outside the box. Bring it indoors, make it simple, make it safe, make it fun.

Here is a simple and easy way too bring water play to your toddler during the winter, when you are sharing each others’ company indoors.

You will need the following:

1. Time, lots of it. This kind of play is a free range play that does not need to be rushed

2. 3-6 items (toddler hand size) that sink and float

3. A stool about 8-10 inches high. No higher or you might find them in the sink. Step stool will also cause them to climb in the sink, so only use them with constant supervision.

4. 2 medium towels

5. bath room sink

6. water

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Monterssori set up

1. Take your toddler with you to collect all items needed. Make sure to let them carry some light things, and have a designated stop where they are to be place. Make sure to say the name of each item being used as well.

2. Work together to set up towels. Ask your toddler to help you place the towel on the floor by showing her which end to hold. Allow room for error.

3. Next have your toddler carry stool from designated spot and place on top of towel in front of sink. Work together to cover stool with second towel.

4.  Next fill sink with warm water.

5. Ask toddler to carry water play items to sink and place next to stool. Once task is complete, allow toddler to place items into sink on his own.

6. Give some space and let them work and have fun. Best to leave them till no longer want to play.

7. Pack away using prep step but in reverse!

More detailed video coming soon…

Not into Montessori? Use these steps

Prep: place 1 towel on the floor where the activity will take place, in front of the sink. Next place stool on top, and cover the stool with second towel. Next clean sink and fill with warm water. Remember there might be some drinking of the water so make sure to keep everything clean. Next place water play items in sink and let your little one loose.

Alternative set up

Don’t have a sink, or your sink is too high? Don’t worry you can follow any of the above steps with the following changes

1. Use a large camping basin.

2. Place on coffee table. For set up see step 2&3 of the monterssori set up

3. continue all other steps

4. stay close and keep a watchful eye, with water below your toddler head, you want to make sure they do not try to put their face in it. Safety first

5. Have fun

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Knowing when it’s time to stop saying no

“mama, I love you” says mr 5yr as he cuddles my neck to hide his embarrassment.  He had just had a really bad fall in the park, doing something I would have in the past warned him about or asked him to stop. This time I had made the decision to let him be, after all trying to ollie on a scooter is what kids do even if it might result in an injury. So long as he stayed clear of other kids and tried in a safe space, he could do as he pleased. As we walked home holding hands I realised, I had no lecture for him on the reasons why doing stunts can be dangerous and the importance of being more calm when on a play date with a young lady. I could tell he was glad for that. The 40min walk home was a  quite and pleasant one, stopping whenever he pleased to admire, flowers, gardens or just ask a question. I did not rush him, and he admired the world in a whole new way.

How I got here took a bit of a re evaluation of my parenting. Where we were and what my children and I were accomplishing together. Sometimes life gets busy, hectic, and pretty loud and all you wish for is a quite, polite, pleasant, well mannered, tranquil child, like the kid next door. Than you remember that you can’t meet all those qualities you are wishing for, for your little one so why expect soo much form them soo soon when you after 30yrs are still working on it.

So now I ask why? And from there we work at it.

 

Getting through the school summer holidays one project at a time

The northern hemisphere gave us a mild winter this year,  which made  school runs all the more bearable. Juggling two children between school, naps and extra activities ment I spend most of my life in the car. As my hushand calls it, my second home, and bigger handbag. Yes, I really do spend that many hours driving around, which I can say is not doing my environment any good. So you can imagine how excited I got as the summer approached, knowing that I would get at little break form a least one run of the day.

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Well summer is here, and 1 week into the school holidays, reality has began to set in. Yes, I no longer have to do the daily drives and pick ups while trying to coordinate mr 10mths nap and gentle transfer into his car seat hoping he stays asleep for the quick drive to school and back. No, that is no longer something I have to worry about. What I have now is school holidays. Hours that need to be filled with entertainment, projects and lots of talk for the next 3 months before school starts again.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love my children and I enjoy spending time with them, but as a work from home, stay home mum, with a no TV policy for young minds, this means keeping two little ones busy from 7am-7pm, with very little time to get any of my work done. So It’s been a week which has felt like a month, we have relaxed, free ranged, de stressed from the routine of regular school, and now we are ready to conquer the summer. To keep you busy this week, you can have a go at the paint project. We love to paint. This is fantastic for ages 9 months – adult! Make sure that you stay next to your infants and toddlers as non toxic does not meant its ok to eat. And we know how much they like to eat EVERYTHING! this project was designed to keep both my children busy at the same time, but also help them work on their hand eye coordination, and concentration.

Soo here are the list of things we used 

  • non toxic paints ( red, yellow, blue, white) is all you will need as you can make secondary colours from them
  • non toxic fabric paint
  • paint brushers
  • rolls of paper
  • Plain tee from goodwill
  • Old news paper
  • paint rollers
  • bowl of warm soapy water
  • old rag tea towel

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For 9months and up

  • start by placing old news paper on table. Dinning tables are good as you can set infants in high chair to work.
  • Mix paint for additional colours, you can put paint in the cups of egg carton ( a tip I learnt form the Wilson family) or place them in plastic paint cups, or compostable paper plates.
  • cut a large amount of paper from roll. Tape paper to news paper
  • Secure infant in high chair close to table and let them go wild

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For 4 yrs and up

  • on same table at least an arm reach and half away from any other arms, mix fabric paint. Place on paper plate
  • Place folded news paper inside T shirt
  • place roller in white paint first, roll excess paint off on news paper and roll over tee shirt. Continue the same steps till you have cover the area you wish to paint
  • Next wash roller in warm soapy water and dry with rag cloth.
  • Next choose another colour till you have completed your art.
  • Place aside to dry.
  • once paint is dried, tee is ready to wear.
  • Wash like normal.

Have fun with it and tag me in your FB and Instgram pics of your end results!