Saturday, May 17, 2014

Encouraging Toddler Creativity

There are times when I really question if I'm optimizing my role as a stay at home mom. It was a really long winter, and being pregnant with baby #2 only added to my lack of motivation and energy. Many days, Max and I spent cuddled up watching Disney movies, reading books, and playing with his never-ending supply of toys. Some times I wonder though, am I doing enough? Am I socializing him enough, am I sparking his creativity, am I encouraging his development the way I should be?
Sure we have our fair share of play dates, we frequent our local library and take full advantage of the amazing toddler activities they offer there, and there's no doubt that we get out and about often enough, but now that the weather is FINALLY getting nice again, I'm feeling really motivated to make a better effort at encouraging Max to get his hands dirty, to explore, to play and enjoy everything around him.
Although we're certainly looking forward to setting up our water table, and trips to the pool, now that spring has undoubtedly arrived, we decided to welcome it with open arms by painting some bird houses, creating birdseed ornaments, and making some homemade play dough.

We picked up these inexpensive bird houses at Joann's, and then hopped to it with our kid-friendly washable paints.  Due to the fact that these paints are not exactly made to withstand outdoor conditions, I highly recommend finishing them with a coat of clear shellac, such as this one, to help seal and protect your little one's creations.

Since it is spring, and the birds are everywhere right now, we also decided to make some birdseed ornaments.  Depending on the age of your child, you definitely will want to carefully monitor this project, you know, so your little doesn't go and ingest an unhealthy amount of birdseed.  I let Max help stir, but due to his past history of trying to eat crayons, I did the majority of the dirty work for this project myself, and found comfort in knowing that he will get to enjoy the final result of watching the birds dine on our handmade feeders.

Anyhow, we followed the recipe that we found here on Pinterest, and I was pretty happy with the results.

I was reminiscing about my childhood (which seems like it was a million years ago), and recalled how much I enjoyed making homemade playdough.  While Max is probably still a little young to appreciate the process, he loves actually playing with playdough, and I know that it is good for his sensory development, so we decided to make some.  We followed this tutorial, also found on Pinterest, however we omitted the scent.  I divided the dough into 6 balls to make different colors using food coloring.  I used about 7 drops per ball of playdough, and wore rubber gloves to work it in and to avoid rainbow colored hands.  I have been storing it in small tupperware containers, and it is still holding up really well after a few weeks.  Max loves playing with it, and I like it because I don't have to worry about him eating it, as it is obviously non-toxic.

Needless to say, I am feeling much better about encouraging Max's creativity lately, and we've been having lots of fun in the process.  We've been getting outside more too, playing in the sandbox, on the swing set, and drawing with sidewalk chalk.

We are all adjusting quite well, even though it takes a little longer to get out of the house, to being a family of four.


Have a lovely spring weekend!

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