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.
My favourite moment of the day was finding R hiding under the dining chair growling and acting like a little monster 😉
Independent play time is unfortunately never completely independent. From time to time, her play is interrupted by a need to be cuddled or my need to redirect misbehaviours such as when she’s ripping leaves off of our house plants.
What I can say, though, is that she is growing each day and getting better and better at playing independently for longer periods of time. This is, of course, wonderful for me, as it allows me to make dinner and do other things around the house. Sometimes, I need her to play independently just so I can put my feet up and relax!
R chose to play in her designated kitchen cupboard. Although pulling out all the containers make a huge mess, they also offer the perfect opportunity for practicing cleaning up. The greatest benefit is that R also practices sorting skills as she returns the containers and lids to their rightful places based on size and shape.
Other activities she chose included rolling out the yoga mat and practicing poses she’s seen me do, playing with various vehicles while talking on the phone, pushing her little couch around and throwing herself around on couch pillows.
The most interesting thing happened while R played with the fridge magnets. As I watched her while sipping my cup of tea, she collected the magnets off the fridge and attempted to attach them to multiple surfaces. A huge smile was plastered to her face as she realized that they stuck to the garbage can.