Monday, June 1, 2009

Entertaining Preschoolers

We are taking an extended break from alot of formal learning right now. It's summer. No need to continue to push our way through in order to finish some arbitrary list of "skills" every child should know at a certain age. I am beginning to understand that learning is something that happens daily whether you are doing school or not. Life is learning so we're practicing that right now.

I know have two preschoolers who do not nap or at least don't nap everyday. What in the world do you do with a preschooler that doesn't nap. My answer has always been to put them in a room with some toys and board books, put up a gate, and hope for the best. But this isn't really helping them find a fire to ignite (in the learning category. I am sure they would love to ignite and real fire. LOL!!!) I want to know my children and what makes them tick. Why doesn't my 2 yod want to sit down a read? Why does my 4 yod refuse to build with legos when he clearly knows how to? He simply refuses. Obviously, these things may not be meeting their needs (although reading isn't an option in our home.) So instead of sticking them in a room for 2 hours to "play" (what does that word mean to a small child anyway? Go away so mom can be by herself? Unfortunately that is probably what it means to my children right now.)

I mission has become about finding things to entertain and teach them at the same time. I suppose the biggest problem I am facing is that I got rid of all toys that make noise (except the Rescue Heroes and I have a week to decide if those are worth keeping.) I truly despise noisy toys. Why have a working vacuum that makes noise and sucks real trash when you can pretend to have a real vacuum. We have a toddler toy that jingles when you push it along the ground. Every single one of my children around the age of 2 will go find that toy and use it as a vacuum. They have never been prompted. I won't let the older kids use it. I want the toddlers to discover that trick on their own. Pretend play builds the imagination and makes for smarter more creative kids. This is my goal. But it hasn't always been my goal. Now, I didn't want alot of noisy toys but I did cave on many occasions. Little People is the bid area. I got rid of all those. My kids never played with them. All they did was push the buttons to make the noise then get bored. I am done with this type of play. I want them to learn to use their imaginations. I can see that it's going to take some retraining for a few of my kids. But I am willing to do this in order to turn around the damage that my spinelessness has caused.

This afternoon I am searching through the internet to find ideas of homemade preschool toys and games. I am excited about it. I am also going to pull out all of the file folder games that I have half way made through the years and get them ready for the boys to play with. If I can pull it off, I would really LOVE to have 2-3 boxes of activities for them to rotate through each day. That would make for about 15-20 different activity boxes for them to use during school and before dinner. These are the times I have the hardest time entertaining them. Hopefully our increase amount of reading will move them toward using their imaginations to make up stories and other such play.

I am done with having tyipcal kids with typical toys. I remember a time when there weren't video games and there were only few TV stations that had cartoons on them. I remember days in the summer of playing in the backyard or in the neighborhood with my friends. I played in the garden in our backyard and made of games and play in the fort that my dad built for me in our backyard. I would play for hours in my room playing house (at least as far as I remember. I was still a TV kid but there wasn't much access. I eventually started watching Soap Operas when I was in elementary school and my mom had to leave me at home all day all summer. :( I remember spending alot of time riding my bike. The days of being able to run free are over now. Our children will never truly know that joy. But Underdog and I praying that God might grant us the opportunity to move to some land so they can at least gain some of that back. In the meantime, I am going to work hard this summer to eliminate all the things that I believe will get in the way of imaginative play. I am also going to do it on a budget. I'll blog more on that later.

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