J is into everything, he’s an explorer and doesn’t sit still for very long.
The older he gets the more he needs things to entertain him. We’re not really stay at home people, so we go out a lot, but there are times when you need to be at home and toys just aren’t cutting it anymore. J’s favourite toys/household items to play with are the satnav wire or our old home hub, the hoover, the broom, his fisher price cookie Jar, his wooden lady bird and his new tent.
He has loads of toys (i’m a bit of a charity shop/car boot fan), but they don’t seem to entertain him for long.
I then listened to Radio 4 Women’s Hour about playful parenting, and it got me thinking. If you want to find out more about playful parenting you can read books about it, but it was a revelation to me about how I could do things differently to help him play and be more involved. I think my idea of play was to sit on the floor with him, whilst he played and sometimes we would play with the Duplo together, but then I would get frustrated that he wouldn’t play for long. I have so many ideas for fun, but assumed he would have to be older for me to try them out, but briefly looking into playful parenting and getting ideas from other websites, I realised that I could be more creative and get involved more.
I checked out a few websites by other mums, and tried out a few of their ideas, such as placing balls in the slots in a muffin tin. These mums suggested that this brought endless entertainment, so I had a go with J and he played for about 1 minute! Despair set in, so I got out all of my baking trays and filled them with random things, but no joy for me or J.
I then went back to the websites and tried other ideas but no endless fun was happening. I then sat down and watched J play for a bit and wrote down a list of things that he enjoys doing and considered going out and spending loads of money on toys, but then my husband pointed out that he probably wouldn’t play with them for long.
So back to the drawing board. We tried Play-Doh, which brought a lot of confusion to poor J: “but why can’t I eat it?” In the end he did seem to enjoy it. But then I made a den for him in the front room, and he loved it and fun was had. We played for ages and I now need to up my den making skills. I also gave him a roll of left over wallpaper, and thought he might enjoy colouring, but he didn’t colour as much as enjoyed sitting under the paper, using it to make a loud noise and playing peekaboo. But a firm favourite so far is a massive plastic tub filled with shredded paper, I also put plastic spoons, pegs and other kitchen things in amongst the paper and he loved it. He loved using the paper as pom poms, playing with the individual pieces, taking it out and putting it back and using the spoons as if it was spaghetti he found it so fascinating.
Since re-thinking about J’s play time I have enjoyed playing with him so much more, I don’t get as bored and it means I have to be so much more creative and I am enjoying that too. It’s also great to see him develop more, playing with the tub of paper means he has to stand more and he stands without support, playing with in the den also helps with his standing. Playing with the paper helped him with holding and drawing with crayons (great crayons from Tiger). But most of all I am loving that J seems to be more involved in what he is doing and less likely to do things he shouldn’t because he isn’t as bored. I am also not as worried about staying at home as I use to.