One of the trickiest things for me at the moment is that I have 3 older kids close together in age (9,8,7) and two littlies. I can often manage the three older ones doing an activity together like lego or something similiar while Ezekiel (our youngest) is asleep in the Ergo carrier but Zippi (who is 2.5 yrs and quite an intense personality) is often looking for something to do! So I thought that I would share some of the activities I have for her to play with that are easy for her or I to access and start at a moment's notice! These kinds of activities are good for when I am carrying Zeeki (therefore unable to get down comfortably on the floor to do things with her) or when I am cooking dinner or something like that. These are my 'go-to' kind of activities that buy me a little time without the whinging and at the same time really help her engage in play and encourage indepence and creative skills.
The first I am going to share is called a DOODLE MAT.
I purchased this a while back from K Mart for $10. It has been really great! The activity consists of a foam/waterproof mat and a 'pen' that you fill with a little water. I sit Zippi up at our bench and then she draws onto the mat's surface. It dries after about 5 minutes (depending on the weather!) and so she can start again and draw something new!
I keep it in one of the baskets in our learning room so that it is easy for her to grab and bring to me if she feels like using it (otherwise I'll just suggest it sometimes to her and she's up for it!)
The 'pen' stays on the sink ready to be filled when next needed (I keep it there too so it won't get lost).
Zippi finds a pencil a bit difficult to grasp still but this is nice and chunky so she is able to get a better hold. This means she doesn't get as frustrated with drawing. She's been asking me to draw things ("draw me mummy!" ) and then she tries to copy. It's a great little game and is helping her hand-eye coordination, her sense of creativity and her ability to communicate.
For $10, this was a really great purchase for us...well worth the money!