When I am sitting on the rug with familiar blocks, puzzles, and toys in front of me, my mind sometimes wanders -- to my grocery list, freelance deadlines, and bills.
That being said, periods of focused play with my kiddos are also some of my happiest times as a mom. I love to sit and watch a quiet, focused child work on a new skill.
It is largely for this reason that I just signed Colin up for a Parent/Toddler class at our Montessori School. With my older two children, I have adored that hour-and-a-half a week where I am 100% focused on playing with the perfect little being before me. I can't wait to do the same thing with Colin in just a few weeks.
While I am on the topic of play, I wanted to tell you about a new book I just read called Everyday Play: Fun Games to Develop the Fine Motor Skills Your Child Needs for School by Christy Isbell.
This book was written by a pediatric occupational therapist. She advocates the very sensible view that kids can work on their oh-so-important fine motor skills by engaging in a variety of creative activities at home. I love the idea that learning critical skills should just be another part of the many types of play that a child engages in on a daily basis.
Isbell has some great suggestions for fun and creative activities that will get your child working with his hands. I am particularly fond of the following ideas (and many of them remind me of the activities in a Montessori environment):
- Use a wooden mallet to hammer golf tees into Styrofoam.
- Using tongs and tweezers, challenge your child to pick up a variety of small items (like Legos).
- Squirt two colors of fingerpaint into a resealable plastic freezer bag. Encourage your child to use his index finger to make lines or shapes in the paint and mix the colors together.
- Use play dough to teach your child how to use his thump, index and middle fingers to create small "peas."
This book has been a helpful reminder to me of the many benefits of sitting down one-on-one with a child and engaging them in an interesting "play activity." Plus, I love the idea that you can accomplish this by simply using items you already have around your house.
And with that thought . . . I am off to dig out my mini-muffin tins, tweezers and some small items for a sorting activity I have planned for Brendan tomorrow afternoon.
Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book. That means I didn't pay for it myself.