Monthly Archives: April 2009

Sidewalk Chalk, A Helpful Parenting Tool

Mondays are designated sidewalk chalk day in our house.  I’m always sure to draw all of that weeks lessons around the driveway so that I can easily review the lessons each time we go outside during the remainder of the week.  J is also quick to point out the new lessons to me!  He gets really excited to see the letter G or the triangles when we go outside.  

I’ve also determined that sidewalk chalk is a great parenting tool.  Our drawings help keep J where I want him. For example, if I’m carrying a big load of laundry for the cleaners, I can tell J to go stand in the circle/on the plane/on the letter H and wait for me.  I found those instructions are much more clear than “stand by the car” or “stay close to mommy”.   You could draw stars or a big stop sign when teaching them where they cannot cross without holding a parent’s hand or at least having their attention.  Of course sidewalk chalk will disappear with time… or rain…  but the initial lesson can stick with them.  I am surprised to discover what J remembers… that the little heart used to be in this corner of the driveway or Daddy’s schoolbus drawing was on this part of the sidewalk.  Oh to have that kind of memory now!!

During the winter, we’ll often use painter’s tape on the kitchen floor, put up posters, or window stickers to review the weekly lessons.  This also helps, but sidewalk chalk is still my first choice.  It takes little effort and something about it being outside makes it special!  I think because the painter’s tape is on the kitchen floor and we’re in or around the kitchen practically all day, the novelty wears off.  The chalk pictures outside keep their novelty longer.

Homemade Toy: Egg Cartons

I started this activity with J at 13 months.  I gave him a bowl of plastic eggs and the empty egg carton and let him try to fill each space.  He loved it.  It was a great motor skills activity.  Eventually I added corks to the mix.  He would put the corks inside the eggs, take them out, put them in the empty spaces of the egg carton,…  You could use puffs or marbles instead of the corks.

Age:  J started aroun 12 or 13 months; If I made it more advanced, he would still play with this today.

Try Again?  I used this activity once a week (maybe every 2 weeks) until around 17 months.  I could now have him sort colors using the same materials to make it more challenging.

**ETA: Find more plastic egg activities here.

Whip Cream Painting

I planned an entire day of fun for J’s first birthday.  We live far from all family and knew that we wouldn’t have a big party for J, but I still wanted it to be special.  Whip Cream painting is one of the activities that he did that day.  I made some homemade whip cream, tried coloring it with blueberries and rasberries (I forgot to buy food coloring!) which worked… a little.  I stripped J down to his diaper, sat him in his highchair and put a spoonful of each color on his tray.  He was a little confused at first (this was one of the first times he was in the highchair aside from mealtime) and just slowly tested the waters with one finger.  Eventually he was had the whole tray covered, as well as his belly and his hair; he liked to fill his hand with it and then make it squish out by making a fist.  Of course he tasted it too, which in this case was perfectly ok.  It’s basically a texture activity for him, a chance for him to experiment and explore something new. 

My little guy does not normally like getting dirty, so it’s good for him to experience it every now and then!

Age: 12 months

Try Again?  I haven’t repeated this same activity again, though he would’ve enjoyed it I’m sure.  I have done other texture painting activities since this.

Tunnel Play

I guess I was slow in introducing tunnels.  My first attempt (around 10 months) was not well received, so I didn’t try again until J was 12 months.  I just set up the couch cushions to create a short tunnel and he loved it.  He liked to follow mommy through (though it was a tight fit for mommy!), play peek a boo with mom at one end and J at the other, push his cars through the tunnel, or pop his head up through the top of the tunnel.  It’s an easy activity to set up and free!

12 months

Age attempted? 10 months not successful (cautious little guy!); successful at 12 months and ever since

Try Again?  Yes; still a good activity