I’m a planner, strategizing, list-maker, and I can often times come into my children’s play time and ‘education’ with this VERY hands on, controlling approach. It often blows up in my face. The more I try to control the play time, the more they resist and then we both end up frustrated, with me yelling something like: “JUST DO IT! IT’S GOING TO BE FUN!”
ya – it’s happened more often than I’d like to admit.
But I AM learning little by little how to encourage my little ones to be creative, imaginative, and educate them in simple ways that don’t need to be super structured or planned out.
My biggest tool in this endeavor is my “craft box”. I have stocked up and filled it with random crafty things like pipe cleaners, poms, popsicle sticks, and play dough. I didn’t have a particular craft or plan when I bought these supplies (most of which can be picked up at the Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart), but just bringing it out gets the kids excited.
They tell me: “Mommy, let’s play a game with this!” So, I become a kid for a second, and just play with them. I sort the poms according to color, and size and ask them to help me (learning colors and size and sorting). We make letters with the popsicle sticks, and bend the pipe cleaners into silly mustaches. Once I get them warmed up they dive in and start cutting the pipe cleaners into different sizes and tell me one of them is the daddy pipe cleaner and the smaller one is the baby pipe cleaner and we give them voices and personalities.
This lasts MUCH longer than I was expecting. I was able to make things somewhat educational (I love this new concept I’ve been learning about, that educating our kids should be through conversation – especially at this young age – my kids are 3yrs. and 2yrs.) and we are certainly building memories and having lots of fun!
I don’t bring the craft box out every day, but when I do, it’s always exciting – especially if I can put my lists and expectations away and get down on my kids level and play…without a plan.