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Little Artist

We have mostly been confined to the house for the past couple of weeks. First because I was sick and didn’t really have the energy to do much and then Aneliese got an eye infection. This made it so that not only were we unable to go anywhere but we couldn’t have friends come to play either. Needless to say, Cabin Fever has struck! As I tried to keep all of us happy and entertained, I started thinking of a list of things that we have fun doing. I know that some people are really good at just getting down on the floor and playing with their kids and it can be very spontaneous. For me, while we do have lots of fun together, I can get so distracted by other things that I forget to really play. So I have started trying to plan for a few things that we will do in our day. They aren’t always complicated and often we end up doing something else but it really helps me to be intentional. I thought that I would make a list of some of the things that we do and then a few that I would like to do.  And I would love more suggestions on fun things to do with little ones. Most things that I have listed are mostly for under five, but some (like baking cookies) work for older ages to!

-Painting- We especially like to do a big piece of paper and paint it together. If you want to slow it down a little, use Q-tips or little sponges. Use cookie cutters to paint shapes.
-Playing with boxes of individually packaged teabags (this keeps Cecily entertained for a long time as she puts them in and out of the box.
-Chalkboard stories- Draw the story as you tell it.
-Paper dolls or shapes- I cut out a chain and Aneliese draws on them and uses stickers.
-Cutting or tearing paper and gluing it on to paper.
-Blow up balloons and bounce them around the house.
-Pretend to be different animals.
-Stickers on paper.
-Play Dough with cookie cutters.
-Making cookies.
-Make ribbon wands, turn on the music and dance!
-Build towers with blocks.
-Blow bubbles.
-Fold and put away laundry- I fold, Cecily unfolds, Aneliese puts away.
-Wash veggies or dishes (even to put a tub on the floor and wash away) We also felt wool, but you could even wash dolly clothes.
-Have a picnic (real or imaginary) in a random room.
-Play card games. Aneliese started by sorting the colors into piles with help, then on her own. Now she is sorting the suits and we play matching the pairs. Later you can move to Go Fish or All Around The World.
-Glue string on paper (or use flour paste)
-Hide and seek- play this at your own risk as it does help kids get really good at hiding.
-Puppet shows, we use stuffed animals or finger puppets.
-Set the table.
-Drive cars and animals through a thin layer of rice.
-String ribbon through holes on paper or cardboard.
-Potato stamps.
-Build a tent under the table (the girls love playing under the table).
-Hide a toy and search for it.
-Have a tea party.
-Read books and books and more books (I have to watch that this isn’t all that I do.)

As I look at these, I realize that many of them are not so amazingly creative and some don’t even seem like play, but I am slowly learning that mostly my girls just want me to do something with them. They aren’t too picky about what we do or how many times we do it; sometimes I plan on something new but Aneliese wants to play the same thing again (kind of like reading the same book over and over) Often I find that if I really play for a while, they will then play on their own while I get supper ready or whatever. Or on many days now, Aneliese helps me and she really is so helpful. When we play together, we are all happier and our days flow so much better.