Friday, March 21, 2014

Beans, Beans, Beans

Sometimes I find myself scanning Pinterest in search of new ideas for how to keep Ellie busy, but I quickly get overwhelmed with stuff, or start to question whether or not I am giving Ellie enough variety in her life to make sure she is reaching her full learning potential, or worst of all, and most commonly, drooling over dessert recipes that I really don't need to be thinking about. Doing the same thing over and over with the same toys over and over in the same spot over and over can become a bit mundane, and while it is a well known fact that toddlers appreciate a schedule and love repetition, this isn't always the case when it comes to keeping them entertained for a prolonged period of time. I always love the idea of a classic gooey sensory bin, or playing with some sort of home-made play dough type of concoction, or even painting. Then I visualize the mess that would be created within approximately the first five seconds of any of these activities, and I usually decide to save something like this for a different day when I have ample time and energy for cleaning up and bathing Ellie.

One of the simplest activities that Ellie LOVES to do, and that keeps her busy for quite some time, is playing with dry beans. It is so simple, yet because it is not something that she gets to do every day, and because the textures and noises are just intriguing to her, it keeps her attention. Also, while the beans quite obviously don't stay in the bowls or cups they are originally presented in, they are so easy to clean up when it is time, no bathing or wet-wipes required. I must admit that I (often with the help of my cat, Balto) do usually find a little bean that was left behind even a few days after the activity has taken place, but a bean or two under a table or in a couch never really hurt anyone :)

I think it would be fun to have one of those water tables that are specifically made for play with water or something like rice or beans, but any tubs, bowls or cups will do. With our lack of space it just wouldn't make sense to have something big like that to have to store anyway. Then we just add spoons, measuring cups, various toys, etc. and I get to enjoy some down time with my little toddler, which has been something I can really appreciate these days. I love to watch her happily think and explore :)

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