Keeping The Toddler Busy: A New Plan

Yesterday we move out of my parents house and into an apartment where we'll stay till the end of November. We've been dreading being in an apartment with a toddler and baby and no yard or space. Bryan and I are used to living in small spaces and we tend to live a pretty minimalistic lifestyle, but we've learned lately that there are some things that make life with an active toddler more manageable. One of those things is space. So, since we won't have space in the coming weeks I've realized I'm going to need some other coping mechanisms to keep my sanity - since I won't be able to just let him run around in the backyard. I've also realized lately that both my son and I do WAY better when we have some clear structure and routine in our lives. We both like knowing what to expect. I think also with all the change we've had lately - a new sibling and living somewhere new every couple of months for the past year and now moving again two more times before the end of the year - more structure would help both Thaddeus and I to feel a bit more secure.

In addition to that I've noticed Thaddeus is really wanting and needing some more mental stimulation. He's started to really take notice of letters. He can sing the ABC's without missing any letters and whenever he sees the alphabet written somewhere he gets excited and says "ABC!" He loves to count and can count to ten now as well, but I'm not sure if he totally has a concept of what the numbers mean. He doesn't recognize written numbers, but seems interested in them. I think he would really enjoy and benefit from some more active, focused learning.

So, in light of all those thoughts I've decided to put together a more structured schedule for us over the next few weeks and see how it goes. It's nothing by the clock, more of a rough focus for each day with one daily structured activity and two daily outings of some sort. Here's what I've come up with for this week (of course this is subject to change).

Number of the week: 1 Letter of the week: a Word of the week: apple

Ideas for incorporating these into our lives: give him one whole apple for snack instead of apple slices and talk about how it is one apple and apple starts with a. When we play play dough make the letter and number of the week. Whenever there is 1 of anything point it out. When out and about point out words that start with 'a' and the number 1 when we see them. Make applesauce. Incorporate sign language by signing the word of the week whenever we talk about it.

Monday October 17:

Weekly Coloring Activity: color a cut out of the number and letter of the week & write out the word of the week to put on the fridge Morning Outing: walk around the neighborhood Planned Activity: colander sculptures materials needed: colander and pipe cleaners Afternoon Outing: library - get books about apples Prep: freeze discovery ice block

Tuesday October 18:

Morning Outing: breakfast (w/ my sister and toddler?) Planned Activity: edible finger paints material: corn starch, sugar, water, food coloring, paper (or powdered milk, water, food coloring) Afternoon Outing: park (w/ cousins?)

Wednesday October 19:

Morning Outing: (see planned activity) Planned Activity: nature walk materials: egg cartoon to collect things in Afternoon Outing: go to the midwife's and chiropractor

Thursday October 20:

Morning Outing: walk around neighborhood Planned Activity: discovery ice block materials: large block of ice with toys frozen in it, hammer, sponge, other utensils to hit, rub, and manipulate the ice Afternoon Outing: play date with Melissa

Friday October 21:

Morning Outing: walk to bagel place for breakfast Planned Activity: apple prints materials: apples, left over edible finger paint, paper Afternoon Outing: park (play date?)

Saturday and Sunday October 22 and 23: fun with family and sage's blessing ceremony. Go to church with sage for the first time?

So, that's the plan for the next week.

What do you think? Any suggestions for me? Have any of you ever done anything like this?

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman