Journal Day 1 – Stuck Inside With Kids
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” – Napoleon Hill
Because of the weather I have found myself stuck inside with my Little One and my Teenager. Both are used to going outside to play for hours on end. One of the things I am so thankful for is that we do live almost in the middle of nowhere and they still can go outside and play to their hearts content.
Except for today. This rainy, drizzly, snowy, slushy weather has kept them cooped up and going bonkers. Which in turn is driving me bonkers. I know that the Teenager can entertain himself. He has a myriad of electronics and got a Kindle this past Christmas that he has been utilizing daily(best investment EVER).
But the Other One…
The Toddler on the other hand, he requires more interaction as he is just starting to learn how to play on his own. And this is ok, but it is also a lot of work. Work that I enjoy doing, but still work.
So as the rain is coming down outside, and the temperature is in the low 40s, he starts asking to go outside. Over and over and over again. Each time getting more and more frustrated that I won’t just let him outside even though he keeps bringing me his shoes and asking to go outside.
Then I remembered that I had bought some sidewalk chalk I had seen at the store the other day and go get it. In his playroom there is a chalkboard propped up against the wall. It’s the exact same one that I used to draw on when I was a little girl. It has a wood frame and cardboard backing, and I have some very fond memories playing with my little sister and a big container of chalk.
So why not? I lead the Toddler to the board and give him the chalk. He just stares at it obviously not knowing what he is supposed to be doing. I grab a different colored chalk and draw on the board. His eye light up and he draws a couple lines. Then he looks at me, his eyes searching for the “it’s ok” from me to what he is doing.
I smile and draw a couple lines too. He then gets super excited and just starts drawing line after line after line. The Teenager comes in and asks what we are doing(as if he couldn’t tell from just looking at what we are doing). I tell him that we are drawing with chalk and he can too if he wants. He mumbles something under his breath then just walks away. Typical Teenager.
Toddler keeps doodling, pulling more and more of the different colored chalks out. I wander over to my computer(this room is half office, half playroom). The next time I look over at the chalkboard to see how Toddler is handling himself, Teenager is sitting next to him doodling right along. This make my heart soar and I go back to my work.
The next thing I hear is Toddler naming the different colors of the chalk that we have. Then Teenager is saying “blue bird” “red cat” “white dog”. Upon closer inspection, I see that he has drawn different animals with different colors. So this fun activity became a learning exercise for Toddler as well!
I could not have been more pleased with how yesterdays events turned out. Not only was there fun and a break from trying to go outside in some dreary weather, but there was also an impromptu learning session between Toddler and Teenager. They both spent about an hour doodling and talking about the different colors and animals that were on the board.
And one of the best things about this…
I didn’t have to worry about Toddler marking anything up permanently!! Yes, he took the chalk and went and drew on the wall. But guess what? I didn’t tell him no or try to stop him. It’s super easy to wipe off and no lasting damage was done.
I believe that a Toddler should be in an environment where he can be free to explore and try new things. Everything is new for him. He doesn’t know what happens why he does x, y, or z. He has to learn it through experience. So I try to provide an environment where he can explore and learn without me constantly telling him “No” or “Stop”. These are limiting words for a toddler.
Don’t get me wrong, I do use those words when something is dangerous. And he listens very well when I say them. I attribute that to the fact that he doesn’t hear them often so knows when I do say them, it’s important. At least important enough to pay attention to.
I highly suggest that everyone with a toddler get a chalkboard of some kind and let them have some fun. If you join along then you can explore different colors, shapes, animals, objects, etc(all depending on your level of creativity). This in turn could turn into more, such as looking at books together, or naming objects in the room. Everything can be a learning exercise for a little one.
Keep on smiling and life will smile back.
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