As parents we really do want the best for our children, even though at times our kids may not see it in that moment. In our tech savvy society it gets pretty easy to stick an electronic device into the hands of our children as young as one. I know, because I am guilty of it as well. Even though, it is important grow up being aware of what technology has to offer, it is still our responsibility to guide our children so that they don't fall into addictive behaviors that technology can bring with it.
As both of my kids transition to another stage, I am once again confronted with a task to figure out what my kids need to stimulate their brain in a positive way. I've looked up countless of activities that are suggested for toddlers and I've come to a consensus. Our kids do not need to be entertained at all times and they need to know that as well, so that they can get creative with what they currently have and do, however, we as parents can definitely help them navigate by scheduling some activities throughout the month where that creativity can be expressed.
I recently purchased a dry erase calendar board from Target to have a better visual for our whole family what all we have going on that month and some activities that we can look forward to. As kids grow up they get involved in more activities and therefore can make your schedule pretty hectic. This is just a great way to organize your schedule and not forget anything. This is also a great way to communicate with you spouse. For example, my husband has events that he overseas, so this is a good way for him to mark the whole calendar with important dates that I need to keep in mind. Another plus for using a dry erase board is that you can erase if you need to change something so that the calendar looks clean. I am grateful that we have inexpensive organizing tools at my disposal that help me with my sanity. :)
For the Mom or Dad that is looking for some activities to do with your kids during the fall, here is a list of some suggestions. This is also good for those kids that go to school but will be on a fall break soon:
Go To Your Local Library
I found a library about 20 minutes from our house that has a separate section for younger children filled with puzzles, building blocks, and lots of different books. You can even get your child a library card and let them check a few books out to take home. (This is of course if your child is not in the stage where they like to rip the pages out of the book. LOL)
Local City Fall Activities
Most cities have a city calendar with at least a month in advance of planned events that are listed for the public. We receive our city magazine for free about every two months and I always look at their calendar to see if they have any fun events that our city hosts. They have different events and local businesses that you can attend as a family like local farms, food trucks, and other fun things. This is also a great way to support your community by supporting local businesses.
I recently went to Hobby Lobby and found a lot of different inexpensive large sized puzzles that were pretty inexpensive but can also have a story behind them. I sat with Mila and helped her assemble one and after a few times she remembered where some of the pieces go. Puzzles actually help with fine motor skills, so this also can help them with their development. As they grow older, you can make it more challenging for them by getting smaller piece puzzles.
Morning/Evening Book Basket
On days that you are home all day, designate mornings or evenings to sit down with your kids and read some of the books to them that they pick out. Younger kids just really need your attention. Sitting down with them and looking through books will not only keep them occupied but also teach them how to focus on one task for a longer period of time. One of the things that I find a little bit more challenging is keeping both of my kids interested in an activity, so what I learned to do is to focus on reading with Mila (3 year old) and to give Toby (1.5 year old) more interactive books that are full of pictures or sensory stimulating books, for example, a book that is filled with things that you can feel like textures.
I personally haven't had any scheduled play dates but both of them play with their cousins at least a handful of times per month. I definitely notice the difference with both of my kids a few days after those playdates. They pick up new words and phrases. You can tell a big difference when your kids are around children that are older than them and how they want to be the 'big' kids as well. Of course it's important to surround them with people that share similar values as you and that have a positive parenting approach. This is also a good way to connect with other parents and have good conversations.
Parenting has it's good moments and challenging ones, but it's all part of the package. I personally find it easier if I have these activities scheduled out on a visual board along with my other duties so that I can keep myself organized and make sure that I am intentional with the activities that I do with my kids to help them in their current stages of development.
If you have toddlers, I would love to hear some of your favorite fall toddler activities that you do with your kids. Also I would love to hear some fall traditions that you have as a family. Comment below.
Create Coleture, Be YOU