Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What-to-Do Wednesdays: Cotton Balls!

Inspired by a number of talented writers in the blogosphere, I'm trying to creative-up this blog with some weekly themes. Fast on the heels of Tuesday Do-Little Dinners, I present What-to-Do Wednesdays.

You know how, taking care of small children all day, you run out of things to do at about, oh, 9:30 a.m.? And then you want to bang your head against the wall for several hours on end? Yeah, me too.

But every now and then another mom mentions some activity she thought of to keep her wee ones busy one day, and I'm always slapping my forehead with my palm at the obviousness of it all. Like, why didn't I think of that? Well, we all have our own caches of ideas, and sometimes they're overflowing and sometimes they're almost empty and what's left inside are old crusty socks of ideas, things you've done over and over again and that leave your children as impressed as a moody fourteen-year-old faced with a family car trip. But the thing is, YOUR crusty-sock ideas might be my brilliant, never-tried gems. And vice versa. So, every Wednesday--at least during the winter--I'm going to post one indoor, small-children activity. And maybe you'll post in the comments with your own ideas, too.

Oh, but there's one major caveat, folks. Are you expecting fancy, exciting, ingenious, complicated, impressive activities? Activities you'd expect to witness at the local private preschool, the one with the two-year waiting list? Well, you'll be disappointed for sure, then. What-to-Do Wednesdays is NOT about that. It's more about, um, a lazier approach to keeping one's children occupied, shall we say? You know, the basics--but maybe some basics that have never occurred to you.

I will point you in the direction of a great blog I recently discovered, however, for more impressive activity ideas--the fabulous What Do We Do All Day? Yeah, she's good. She also seems to not have a fierce one-year-old running around wrecking all the preschooler's complicated activities, so, go ahead and use what works for your situation.

Here's something more along the lines of what works for mine--the first What-do-Do Wednesdays suggestion:

Cotton Ball Fun

Take out a bag of cotton balls. Dump them into an empty plastic bin on the floor. Put out big plastic cooking utensils like spoons and soup ladles, as well as real or toy bowls, skillets, etc. Lead baby and preschooler to this array. Suggest scooping, dumping, counting, "cooking", carrying, stirring, etc. (Note: this would have been a lot more fun with more cotton balls. I only had half a bag in the house.)

My kids (3-1/2 years and 17 months) loved this. They did all sorts of pretend play with the cotton balls, and occupied themselves for a good 15 or 20 minutes WITHOUT ME, which is saying a lot in my house. After Julia got tired of it, Genevieve still busily toddled around the playroom depositing cotton balls here and there for quite awhile. Later, I found a bunch of them stuffed inside an empty baking-cocoa can the girls have in their play kitchen.


Melitsa said...

What a great play activity. Using everyday things from around the house is such a blessing since you usually have to go and buy things that the kids ignore after a while. Good thinking Mama!

A little messier but just as much fun is to fill a large plastic tub full of rice. ( + dried beans if the kids are old enough not to eat them) Bury small toys ( cars, party favours, animals, puzzle pieces etc )They like to dig and find. If you sit them on a shower curtain- clean up is easy-peasy. Great indoor activity.

Mom and Kiddo said...

Ooooh, nice. I have just put cotton balls on our shopping list.