Have you ever thought about playtime as the most serious job ever? I bet you did, when you were a child. For young children, it is the meaning of everything. I figured out I have to carry favorite toys everywhere we go. And I figured it out just until recently. When my son was a baby, it was only a matter of time when he’ll fall asleep (in his car seat, baby carriage, or safe and sound in dad’s arms). And we also didn’t have to entertain him that much. Everything was far from his reach and everything was so interesting by just looking at it. But now, he wants everything. He wants to drive every car toy on his way, and also to play with every single ball we pass by…
But that’s ok! It’s curiosity (is this ball different from that blue one I have at home in some way). And even when they know they can’t touch something that’s not theirs- they are toddlers. It takes a lot of time for a child to learn how to control their impulses. Well, these situations certainly make you fell angry. But get over it by remembering the fact they are so small and innocent (and only want to play).
Why is playtime so important?
This is a full-time job for young children. They can play with everything, and this is what makes them happy the most! If you are wondering about what is the best thing to do with your toddler- WONDER NO MORE! It is playtime! Reading books, playing drums, drawing and talking with imaginary friend on imaginary phone… During all of those actions they are learning, and they are having the best time ever!
Playing is what makes children smart. Baby is born with around 100 billion neurons, but only a quarter of synapses (connections between them) have already been made. If your child is imagining he is driving his small car and goes to a toy store with it, or maybe having a rock concert with your deodorant- you’re a great parent! It really is all about creativity, imagination, and physical activity.
Do not ever think of phone, TV, or computer games as a way of learning and using them during playtime. And even if you want to use them in your little one’s life, do it for a short time and stay with them. Sure it sounds great to hire a cartoon as a nanny when you want to get something done, but there are things you need to protect your child from. I am going to list three things.
There are lots of advertisements that are not suitable for them and you wouldn’t want them to see those things. Second, there may be some inappropriate actions that your child won’t be able to understand. It may also scare him if you aren’t there to explain. Of course it’s not a secret that you’ll have to switch the TV off many times (due to lots of violence in cartoons nowadays). Last, but not least, the synapses. Your child won’t be able to develop them if his eyes, arms, and legs don’t move!
Indoor activities to do
Now, it certainly is the best when children spend time with other kids. But toddler is not so into playing with others of that age. Yes, they are happy with a company of their own. But it will only last for 10 minutes, and they will play alone again. Totally normal. They just find parents (who are more liberal and don’t get angry when they don’t want to share certain toy) the best company. Of course you should organize children playing time from time to time, if your kid is ok with that. But here are some things to do with your little one indoor and help him to learn, imagine, and stay active.
READ BOOKS. This can be a real fun! If you think your child does not love reading, just go ahead and “read pictures”. Imagine stories and show him everything they already have knowledge about. He is going to love it eventually.
MUSIC. This is probably favorite thing for every toddler. Playing instruments, singing, dancing… It seems they always recognize the rhythm! My son adores his guitar, drums set, and also pots and spoons. He sings every single day using anything that looks like a microphone, and dance along with music played on piano. Mostly, he likes listening to David Bowie and any kind of jazz.
ARTS AND CRAFTS. Along with music, this is what he likes doing with his dad. I wish I could play guitar or draw like him (his name is said more often than mine)! But I must admit, I think my son encourages me in drawing. He likes how I draw olives, and he always recognize them (even though they look like small eggs). We draw on a white board, with chalkboards on the floor, in his notebook… And he even has his own side of wall where he can draw anytime (only one side of wall, I emphasize). We also like to use plasticine. Arts and crafts are so perfect for a playtime!
PHOTOGRAPHY. My son has a ritual he made on his own. Every morning when he wakes up, he looks through our wedding day/honeymoon photo album. This gives me more time to realize it is time to wake up (if I’m not already up), plus it’s so cute to hear “mom” and “dad” thousands of time!
MATHEMATICS. I do mathematics with my little one every week when we clean fridge together. For example, if we need to put onion out I pass him onions and count them. And then he puts them in a bowl. He actually doesn’t seem bored at all.
EXERCISE. He is my coolest partner! He likes yoga, he likes squats, he likes to sit on my stomach and exercise with me. It’s so funny that we go up and down! This really is a great way to have fun with children, and it makes them healthier.
BAKE. So, you need to prepare your lunch? Can you think about better assistant than your child who is always interested in everything that you do? Well, if you can’t have an hour for yourself to get the stuff done- hire your child!
PICNIC. We like to have picnic inside our house. We started this when our son turned 5 months (on that day exactly). And we also like to watch Sing movie during our picnicking.
PEEK-A-BOO/CHASE. I am sure you’ve already found out this brings good laugh, and there’s no need to talk about things they are learning during these games. Always include this in your child playtime. We do this every day, it never gets old.
MAKE STORIES. Once my husband told this story about a little toy car and his driver. The driver was listening to Rebel Rebel song from David Bowie (my son’s favorite), and went up and down the sofa. This is the thing he is usually playing during his alone time (around 9am, before his nap). If we help them in making stories, there are more chances their imagination will be on highest level.