Friday, February 7, 2014

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

As a parent to a toddler (first of all, wow that feels strange to see in print), my mind is constantly running with trying to find activities that are easy to put together quickly that will hold E's attention for more than a nanosecond.  Often, I feel like most of my days are spent chasing my small tornado and begging her for the umpteenth time not to play in the dog's water bowl.

Pinterest has some wonderful ideas and if I had more time in my day, I'd gladly spend my time perusing it for brilliant ideas that could put me in the race for mother of the year.

Alas, my one-year-old has other ideas.

So what's a mother to do?

Earlier this week, I was particularly frustrated with E's fascination with our dog's water bowl.  No matter what I did, short of moving it to the counter top, she would find it and splash with delight, regardless if Meshka was using it at the moment or not.

Exhibit A

So what's a parent to do?  I certainly don't want my child playing in a puppy-infested water pool, but I also recognize that she is learning about the environment around her and want to facilitate that as best as I can, even with limited resources.

As I stood there pondering what options I had (the bowl had been moved to the counter at this point), I had an "ah ha" moment.  I looked down at my large mixing bowl (I was making these tasty snacks) and realized that if I couldn't beat her curiosity, I should facilitate it!

I grabbed another large bowl, put a towel down on our tile floor and placed several kitchen items in the bowl.
Note, if you don't have kids yet, allow me to let you in on a little secret: you don't need fancy toys.  Measuring cups, wooden spoons and tupperware containers are just as entertaining as the store-bought stuff.

At this point, little miss curiosity decided to meander in to see what mommy was up to.  I started pouring water into the bowl and she looked at me as if to say, "Seriously, lady? You've been telling me for months not to play in the water bowl and now I can play in the water bowl?"
I think I confused her toddler brain there for a moment.

It took some splashing on my part before she realized that, in fact, she could splash away happily without the "stop that" coming from mom.

I used this play time to talk with her about wet and dry, stirring and pouring.  She was particularly fond of the spoon and spent most of her time playing with that.
After about 15 minutes of this type of play, I grabbed some ice cubes for her to touch, feel (talked about hot, warm and cold) and swish around in the lukewarm water as well.  She wasn't a big fan of the ice cubes until she realized she could toss them onto the floor and our dog would chase them (our dog has a few bolts loose, apparently).

A few days later, I decided that water play was such a success, that we needed to do it again.  Even though we live down south, it's been particularly cold lately, but the great thing about water play is that you can really do it anywhere, just adapt your bowl, or dish to the size of space you have available.
You can always put baby in the bathtub with a bowl so there's less worry about clean up.

We have this awesome mini water/sensory table that I got on Zulily that I was able to pull out from the garage for additional water play.  Same concept as before:

This time, Everly had fun getting wet and she blew bubbles into the water.

The great thing about water play is the versatility in it.  I am a firm believer that children learn through play and that simple things like splashing in the water can do so much for brain and motor development.  If you're looking for a great activity for a stuck in the rut kind of day (let's face it, all moms hit that point sometimes), this is a great and relatively easy to clean way to keep your kids busy for a little bit, while also opening the opportunity for interaction and learning.

And, let's just be honest, these  faces make any mess that is created worth it.

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