￼Little Miss turned 14mths a couple of weeks ago but with Christmas and everything I never got round to writing an update. So I thought for a change I would write about what playtime we have been up to instead. One of the things I love most about being a stay at home mum is being able to watch my children learn and grow in front of my eyes. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the drudgery of day to day life, laundry, cleaning etc. and I forget to stop and really pay attention to the way my littlies play and the way they are learning in their playtime.
Little Miss is at such a lovely age, she is so inquisitive and so full of fun, it has it’s challenges of course but I love this stage of development and watching her learn all of the time. Here are a few of the simple playtime ideas I have been using lately to encourage her learning.
At this age toddlers love posting things and sorting things. Monkey was the same at this age so the first few activities are a variation on the same theme really.
Posting in a pringles tube
We rarely have pringles but at Christmas we did and I have kept the tube as it really does make for perfect toddler playtime. LM adores putting things in the tube then either tipping it out to start all over again, or reaching in and taking them out one by one. She can spend ages playing like this, look at the concentration on her little face. It is fascinating to watch her and the things she is learning when she picks up the various objects. For example this gray bit of duplo, instead of grabbing it in one she was fiated on picking it up on the smallest part of it using her pincer grip, and only did it that way which I thought was very cute.
Then when we played it a few days later she was insistent on picking up two objects in her hand at once. It was lovely watching her work out how she needed to change her grip in order to be able to pick up both items at once and she did really well.
Plastic cutlery sorting
LM is randomly a little obsessed with our dishwasher, she always has been and she especially loves the cutlery holder. Now obviously we don’t let her play with it when it has dirty or sharp things in there, but occasionally I will get it out with some of our plastic cutlery as she loves putting the cutlery in and taking it out again.
Also in the kitchen, LM still loves playing in the sink and quite often ‘helps’ with the washing up, splashing about in the sink while I clean up. She does like sorting here though too and likes putting things on the drianing board when she has finished with them.
The good old Tuff Spot comes out for this one as it helps contain the pasta but it’s not essential. Basically I give LM some dried pasta and a few kitchen bits like a measuring jugs, some measuring spoons etc and let her have an explore. She has great fun taking things out of one container and putting them into another, and pouring them out all over the place and again it is lovely to see the concentration on her face. I also thought it was so cute when she started stirring an empty jug with a spoon and then brought it to her face to eat!
Early pretend play
Though obviously she is very young LM does like to get involved with her big brother’s pretend play. She has started to pretend to feed her baby a bottle of milk and when we have teddy bear tea parties she likes giving food and things to her teddies to play with. It’s funny though as she also loves feeding people, whether you want to eat the food she is giving you or not haha!
Hide and seek
One of LM’s absolute favourite games is hide and seek. She loves peeping out at me or me peeping out at her and it is lovely to see her playing with her brother too. It is good for little ones too, teaching them about object permanence, and when we are playing it with a toy I love seeing her trying to work out where it is going to jump out from next.
LM loves books and learns so much from them. She is getting really good at turning the pages herself but she is also learning a lot from the books themselves. Some of her favourites have a lovely rhythm to them and many contain little hidden learning. I really love a peepo book called “Where’s baby’s belly button” where the babies in the storie are hiding certian things, eyes, mouth and belly button. I point out each part of their body on her too and she has now started copying and pointing at her belly button, feet etc. along with the story which I love.
The “That’s not my…” series are so lovely too as they are so touchy feely and she is learning about all sorts of different textures through these stories. Another favourite is Rainbow Rob which as well as being touchy feely also talks a lot about colours and has a great message about being yourself – which is a good lesson in life I think!
Our little lady is well and truly at a climbing age. She gives me heart failure at times but I do think it is important to let her explore, to a certain extent. She is getting really good at climbiing onto the little Ikea chairs we have in the conservatory, and she has been loving climbing ladders at the playpark to reach a slide. She does stumble at times but she tries so hard and like I say, I think it is important for her to learn.
One area I need to be braver with is messy play. By this age Monkey had been exploring in sensory activities like homemade finger painting and playdough etc. but I haven’t been brave enough with LM. I am determined to rectify this soon though so there will be a second instalment of ideas when I do!