When Reuvo was a toddler, my husband was both in school and working almost full-time so saying we hardly saw him is almost putting things nicely. I left my job when she was one and so it was just the two of us and when we didn’t have visitors it could be a long day. I survived by living with a very strict schedule of activities for us during the day and it was perfect for us.
Now, though, life with Rose is a little different. With Reuvo in school, we plan our days around pick-ups, drop-offs, ballet and play dates. I also work 3 days a week (I won’t lie, I love getting out because I’ve noticed I am a better mom when I do) and so she has a incredible nanny for those days. I started getting concerned about making sure Rose was being stimulated and getting enough of the things toddlers need on my days off because much of it includes running around. We have adjusted and while a strict schedule worked for my situation with Reuvo, we have devised a much looser way of making sure Rose gets toddler friendly activities while meeting the needs of the rest of the family.
At the end of our day, I just make sure she has had the following three things: story time, song time and sensory time.
We specifically go for ones that include actions because she is a mover, shaker, and hand gesture maker. I have noticed that she learns best by touching and doing and she already has her favorite song (itsy-bitsy spider) but we have been branching out. Some options are:
- I’m a Little Teapot
- The Wheels on the Bus
- Twinkle Twinkle
- Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- Shake your Sillies Out
- 3 Little Monkey’s
It has taken a little while for little Rose to want to actually sit down and read a book. After a trip to her cousin’s house I realized that it is because she enjoys the touchy-feely do stuff kind of books that my oldest never really cared for. I am working on building up my library to include those kinds of books and in the meantime, I utilize the local library. We end up reading about 2 to 3 short books before her patience runs out.
There are so many options and it can be as simple or as involved as you want. Just remember touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell or anything that works their fine or gross motor skills. Some days it is as simple as us building blocks together and naming the cute animals on them as we play or letting her pretend bake with water and spoons in her own bowls. The key is to let them explore the world around them through experience, rather than through telling. Some of my favorite activities are:
- Playing with play dough and experimenting making different shapes, roller vs. squishing etc.
- Letting her dress and undress herself or her baby dolls, playing with the snaps, buttons and velcro
- Moon sand: 4 cups flour & 1/2 cup of baby oil combined makes an incredible moldable sand. For Reuvo, I just kept it in a small tub with sandbox toys that we could put away and get out again.
- Wipe box with fabric scraps: I got this idea after Rose went through about 4 packages of wipes because she loves pulling them out so much. Just cut up some old fabric scraps and put them in an unused wipe container and voila! I kid you not she has at least 3o minutes of fun pulling those scraps out and putting them back again.
- Walk and explore: We have been avoiding this one because of the nasty inverted Utah air right now, but when it warms up, we learn so much on our walks! Let them pick things up and point out what you see.
I am loving this way of scheduling my days with Rose because I am able to get these three things in around naps, snacks, drop-offs and whatever else comes our way on my days off and still feel like she has had some very toddler specific activities happening for her. Some days we can do more but we always do at least one of each.
Some days look a little bit like this…
How do you schedule your days with your tot? Comment below with any of your favorite activities! I love new ideas..