Toilet Paper Play

toilet-paper-play

It’s been a while…

I have to say that Toilet Paper Play is one of my favorite. Not only it’s available in every home, it’s easy to clean and you + toddler can basically have hours of fun with it.

How it started?

Sarah took a toilet paper roll and asked me if she could keep it. I said yes… I was about to get dressed to go to the park and asked Sarah (who is diaper free during the day – yeah :)) to go on the potty before we leave.

After a few minutes, I heard nothing: no noise, no “mamaaaaa”, no running… nothing. I had a quick look, and saw Sarah on the potty, playing with the toilet paper. She was playing independently šŸ™‚

I stayed in my room for like 5-10 minutes, I didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to interrupt this precious moment I wanted for so long to witness, I didn’t make a sound… she had managed to create a small shirt with the toilet paper and called me to help her complete it.

I asked her what she had in mind and asked her what I could do to help – I didn’t want to interfere with what she planed, and if she plays, she has to lead her way. She asked for a costume. As it was very vague, I tried to rephrase. Do you want a dress? Do you want skirt? I asked with excitement. She asked for a dress.

With a lot of care I took the toilet paper and roll it all over her. She was so excited that she couldn’t stand still, and that poor 1st T.P dress of hers was on a just a few seconds. I brought many toilet paper rolls and we started all over, and over, and over until she was able to move more freely and understood the impact of her actions on the dress. I believe that it must have taught her a lot about consequences, patience and care.

After a while, she asked for a costume for “Petit cochon” (her little soft pig that she likes) and started wearing it šŸ™‚ It made me so proud, I was so happy to see her taking care of her little piglet. She sometimes asks me to carry her very close like under my shirt or to wrap her around me (she and I call it “kangaroo”), I believe that she was imitating that.

I loved that play so much because she completely started it, and because we were able to bond through play

Imitation is the first instinct of the awakening mind.

Maria Montessori

 

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Our 1st Montessori Inspired Activities

montessori-activities

That’s it, I’m completely into it! Montessori has caught me, and I would like to initiateĀ itĀ when we play and see how it goes for us. Knowing that the critical age period is from 0 to 6, it would be too bad to wait

I have read the principles, watched videos and started following great blogs… not much, but enough to know that the Montessori education is a great way to approach life, to approach learning, to respect and trust that she knows better than anyone else what’s best for herself. Her daycare care givers are fantastic women, they are loving and caring and have years of experience. She has fun and does a lot there: she paints, she reads, she sings, she plays, she learns a lot – it’s not in a Montessori environment though, so I’ll try my Montessori activities at home.

BecauseĀ Montessori approach is designed to support the natural development of children in a well-prepared environment, I have started to search for wooden toys – Montessori material – Ā I searched for meanings, explanations, and I tried to find theĀ purpose of the ritualsĀ too… What is that “well-prepared environment”??? Where do I start??? I really want to try, but how??? Starting with Montessori when you don’t know much about it is pretty hard, but the good news is at least some of the principles and activities are intuitive and you are probably already implementing Montessori principles and activities without even knowing it šŸ™‚ My Sarah loves pouring water, she just does it on her own free time, so that’s a good start.

After 8 month reading RIE and respectful parenting blogs, tips… the “freedom within limits” and “independence” concepts are understood – I’m still working on those as it takes time but at least l didn’t need any further explanation. So, putting aside the “well-prepared environment” and rituals for the moment (too advanced for me right now) I’m starting withĀ small steps anyone can do: Use what I have at home, touch, explore, sit for a moment and enjoy without taking for granted the everyday life objects we use.

With help from Blog de Maman K, who suggested Treasure baskets, pouring water and seeds and let Sarah get dressed – undressed on her ownĀ (which she does but not always), IĀ searched for Treasure baskets ideas and found the perfect 1st activity ideas for us: The Mystery Bag!

 

Our Mystery Bag:

  • Cinnamon stick
  • Cotton ball
  • Big soft plastic cup
  • Small hard plastic cup (pretend play object she knows well)
  • Soft round owl (because I wanted something round and soft)
  • Spinning top (she likes it and I wantedĀ a wooden object)
  • Shell

 

I placed everything on a tray and we went outside. We sat together, touched, smelled and tasted when relevant and named every object. After naming every object, I put every one of them, one by one in the bag and closed it. I presented the bag to her. Usually, this work presupposes the child already knows theĀ names of each of the objects, which she did for most of them except for the cinnamon stick.

It was important for me to start with this because it’s an activity we can easily do together. I concentrated on touch, smell and on the excitement of picking something and guessing what it is. Also because independenceĀ and play is not what she does best when I’m around – I wanted an activity that is she can do over and over if she wants and on the other handĀ doesn’t look unfinished if she doesn’t want to “work” anymore.

It worked very well for a few minutes, she was very excited and then she just took every object out 1 by 1 without guessing. Then she decided that she wanted to cut and tear the cotton ball up, and she led the activity from there. We stayed together, cutting cotton ball with scissorsĀ (not very easy actually, even pretty hard), tearing it apart, touching seeds and pouring them from one bowl to another. All this lasted for around 1 hour (very very good for us, I was very excited)

Then she made dinner all by herself: she brokeĀ eggs, mixed them, added just a bit of salt so we had a nice omelette for dinner, she gave me some cheese to add to it.

I was in a learning mood and was completely connected to her – she took a hand cream tube and opened it (which most of the time doesn’t end well). When she started taking huge amount of hand cream out and rubbed it all over I asked her what she felt. “Does it feelĀ soft to you?”, “Is that sticky?”, “Do you like it?”… I would have never thought of asking questions like those in a million years – I would have taken the tube away, explained that she couldn’t have it and I would have acknowledged feelings because of course, she wouldn’t have been very happy about me preventing her from having fun…

It turns out that we already have “Montessori approved” toys like geometric wooden puzzles, and we could do that too together.

This is just the beginning for me, and I think that this is just another way to bond with her for the moment, because Montessori really made me realize the importance of every moment. I wish the best for her: independence, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-pride. I wish that she could trust herself in everything she does and knows that she is capable – because she is! I am working very very hard on myself not to step in and get in her way with my fears, I am working very hard to just let her be and working very very very hard to let her do what she does on her own.

Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.

Maria Montessori

 

Mama, it’s a surprise for you

surpriseToday was an amazing day.Ā TodayĀ I received an amazing present, a huge smile on a tiny face and the most important thing: a great moment to remember.

Today, my dear almost 2.5 year old daughter ran towards me with her hand full of tiny white rocks: “Mama, it’s a surprise for you”

She opened her tiny hand and poured the rocks into mine, “it’s a present” she said, with a smile on her face. I smiled back, and with an enthusiastic voice, I thanked her for having given me the present she had carefully carried and had chosen to give to me. She ran back, gathered some more rocks and ran back towards me to bringĀ them, so I thanked her again.

I have asked her to keep those white rocks for me and poured them into her tiny hands. She looked at me and said, “those are yours, no one will take them” – “No one” i replied, “No one”.

She “played” for almost an hour, filling plastic cups with those small white rocks, preparing presents forĀ mama, dad and neighbours.

That was a fantastic day because I didn’t interrupt her, I didn’t mind her getting dirty and just watched her having fun…

Today was a fantastic day because I was able to be thankful for rocks, for those tiny moments that make a different. By really being thankful I was able to make her happy. By being thankful I was able to enjoy all the dirt on her tiny hands and clothe.

Today was a fantastic day because this precious moment of play made other moments precious and suddenly everything was easy.

Today was just a fantastic day

It’s play time

play

It’s play time… Darling let’s go to a Huge playground!

Huge Playground she says? Yes, HUGE we reply, let’s go.

She barely woke up from her daily nap, but we could tell she was excited! So, there we were, in a Huge playground – she seemed so tiny.

She had a look and she said “woooowwwww, HUGE playground” she was running all over the place, as if she needed time to process what was going on, as if she needed instructions. I was a bit stressed, isn’t she too tiny to climb there? Isn’t she too tiny for those slides? I told my husband, no way – you’re going up with her! “Those are “regular” slides darling”, I told her, pointing at those that I thought were more appropriate

I know, I know: “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed”, “Independence” those are concepts I really, really but really want to emphasize and respect – but it seems so overwhelming, she’s still a baby to me I guess. I realized how important this is when another parent climbed with his son (around 2 yo I would say) and didn’t really let him run there – this always gives me the perspective that I need, like seeing a reflection of myself and this doesn’t look good when you begin to be more conscious of the parent that you want to be…

I stood up there, until my husband grabbed my hand… she ran, she climbed, she jumped, went up, went down, went right and went left… she needed some directions and at some point and she wanted us to climb with her… so I did, I went up, I went down, I went right and I went left with her for a few minutes until she felt ready for the BIG slides. She climbed, up to the big-big slide, on her own and was so happy. 1 hour before that, those big slides seemed huge and inappropriate.

“It’s time to go, darling, let’s go” – we said, choose carefully your last ride! We’ll be back next week!

 

Quote of the Week

Sarah's running

ā€œThe greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.ā€

Denis Waitley

 

Have a great day ā™„