Spaces for Play
I was busily cooking up a storm today while R played for an extended independent play time. The days when it is just the two of us until late are the hardest for me. Usually, I plan it so that we eat left overs on those nights so that I’m not worrying about a clingy toddler and making dinner at the same time. I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to make lasagna when I knew I’d be alone with R this evening. Well, I’m happy to report that all of our independent play time practice has not been a waste, since she did so well today and the house didn’t burn down! LOL!
We have a cupboard in our entry way that we have emptied so that R can use it since she has shown interest in the cupboard lately. We decided against closing up yet another cupboard and getting her to stay away, and instead, let her use it as an animal lair (or whatever she chooses) for her Little People Zoo characters.
With all the prepping and cooking I was doing today, R made full use of the tupperware cupboard we have designated to her. She pulled out containers, stacked loose parts, sorted and unstacked over and over.
For more tips on encouraging independent play without having to plan activities for this time, check my post here.
R was 16 months old at the time of this activity
Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae & David Wojtowycz – This book has a collection of poems about ocean creatures in it. It can be read as a whole story, or each page can be read as its own poem. There are plenty of simple and humorous rhymes about crabs, turtles, dolphins, angel fish, jellyfish and much more! The colours are vibrant and R loved flipping through it!
1. Bottled Beach
I made an “I spy” sensory bottle with three ocean animals that R is familiar with (octopus, fish and crab) and a variety of ocean items that are new to her. I put sand at the bottom of a plastic water bottle and poured coloured water on top. I had coloured the water with two drops of blue food colouring and one drop of green food colouring. I showed her each of the items before putting them into the bottle and paid closer attention to the three she recognized. We named the three animals she was familiar with and she did the signs we have made up for them. For octopus, she wiggles her arms by her sides. For fish, she joins her hands together and makes them “swim”. And for crab, she holds her hands out to her sides with her palms facing up and makes a snapping motion with her fingers. Once I placed all 8 items inside the water bottle containing sand and water, we shook the bootle, waited for the sand to settle and then searched for the octopus, crab and fish. When R would spot an item she recognized, she did the action for it.
a. For older children, bring phonemic awareness into the “I Spy” game. Ask the child to find an object that begins with a specific letter. For example, you can ask the child to find an object that begins with the letter O.
b. Continue the “I Spy” game with beginning sounds. Ask the child to find an object that begins with a specific sound. For example, you can ask the child to find an object that begins with the sound “o”.
c. For a harder challenge, ask the child to find an object that ENDS with a specific letter or letter sound.