The other day I was browsing Pinterest specifically for more ideas on indoor learning activities for Sonora now that it’s been so snowy. And also for things she can do without needing me (oh my…she has become SO needy lately. Always needs a playmate. Good thing New Baby is on the way – rescue me, little one!) Anyway, while searching I found this handy little chart that someone developed. After reading it, I realized I’d actually been following it pretty closely myself with our own activities.

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So now I’ve come up with my own “official” activity chart based on her structure and plan to follow it for our daily/weekly routine from now on. Sonora has only been on one nap for a while now (since 15 months? 16 months?) so every morning and every afternoon I’ve tried to fill our day with learning as well as playtime.

Here are the things that I’ve been doing with her since she was about 16 months.

I like to have Sonora do at least one activity from each of the categories every day. Each activity lasts about 10 minutes, sometimes longer.

INSIDE THE HOUSE

Art – playdoh, coloring (white board and/or coloring pages), finger paint, sidewalk chalk (on the half-step), water painting (when it’s warm), bubbles

Math – count objects/toys, count steps, count as we clean up toys, count fingers & toes, fridge magnet numbers, books with numbers

Science – blow bubbles, bubbles in the shower (we take showers together again), doctor kit, outside (snow crunching and dog poop identification), sink or float, pouring water into bowls, splash (cause and effect – wet/dry), ball ramp (gravity)

Reading – one hour per day, minimum (usually 15-30 mins morning, 15 mins at naptime, 15-30 mins afternoon, 10-15 mins at bedtime – and a lot of times Ryan will read to her for another 20 mins when he gets home from work)

ABCs – ABC song (we also sing this while we brush her teeth), her computer, iPod apps, fridge magnet letters, Eric Carle animal ABC flash cards (she knows all the animals but not the letters), Little People alphabet animals, ABC animal coloring pages (animals in the shape of a letter)

Motor Skills – pillow hopscotch, dancing, jumping, running in circles, playing with Sadie, climbing furniture, ladder, stairs, helping with chores (dishwasher, laundry), rocking horse, throwing or rolling a ball

Fine Motor Skills – iPod apps (swiping, etc.), pom pom sorting in small container (color sorting), pipe cleaners in holes, stacking cups, wooden square stacker, sorting games in muffin tin (I try rice/oatmeal/noodles/etc. with her every so often but she always ends up eating them, ha!)

Problem solving – ask her questions about objects (hard or soft? big or small?), puzzles, shape sorting, lift the flap books, does this belong here? (place objects in the wrong spots so she puts them in the right ones), memory and matching games, daily review with Daddy (tells daddy what she did/learned/sang/read that day)

Music (with motions) – If You’re ____ and You Know It (emotions), Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Pat-a-Cake, 5 Little Monkeys (more of a reciting poem than song), Ring Around the Rosie, Away in a Manger, This Little Piggy (reciting), Jesus Loves Me, Old MacDonald, Hokey Pokey, My God is So Big, This Little Light,  Deep and Wide, He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands, I’ve Got the Joy, Laurie Berkner dance party, library story hour songs

Activities – sledding, slide (downstairs), ladder, tunnel, forts, bath tub (no water, just likes to get in and out and play in it), sink fun, and if she’d ever show interest I’d like to add “snowman” to this list!

Fun (she does each of these almost every day) – hugs and kisses (goes back and forth between us giving us hugs and kisses – MY FAVORITE), collect, give and return (over and over), Legos, Little People, puppets, play kitchen, sticker book, hide and seek, doll stroller, shopping cart, jewelry, tea party, fill it up/dump it out, Friday movie day

OUTSIDE THE HOUSE (not every day but 3-5 times a week we do an activity from the list)

Thrift store, grocery shopping, library story time, free play at the gym, pool, play dates, mall rides, mall play area, parks, zoo, restaurants, Bible school (Wednesday mornings), nursery (Sunday nights), Children’s Museum free day, Nature and Science Museum free day, Botanic Gardens free day, walks, hikes, Target

I’m sure I missed some but whatever ones I missed are probably already covered in my Toddler Games posts so if you really care that much or need more specific ideas you can check those out. And there are so many more ideas I’ve gathered along the way! I’m actually kind of nerdy and really enjoy showing her new things to try – gives us both a fresh activity to do and she’s so fun to watch.

To end…
One of the hardest things for me as a mom is feeling like I put a bunch of effort into raising my daughter and it’s all behind the scenes and no one can tell me how good or bad of a job I’m doing because they’re not there to evaluate me (um, thank goodness for that though!). But it makes it hard to feel valued in this role, too. When people think of a SAHM they might think of playing at the park, chatting with mom friends at the mall and watching soap operas during nap. But I’d like people to know that it’s not all fun and games – even though I love my job! – and it takes work/thought to come up with activities to keep my kiddo stimulated. So this is a peek into what I do with her that provides her with fun AND learning. I hope she thinks I’m a good mom. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job so far.

Oh, and no need to throw compliments (or complaints) my way because I’m not fishing…just had a general reflection of motherhood. And by the way…mom is a synonym for teacher. Can I get a what, what!

Teacherly yours,
Laura