Thursday, December 16, 2010

Games for toddlers: Emotional spoons

As I've mentioned before, I've been desperate for some new material. Nate's been sick (and cutting molars) so he's been napping less. Ordinarily we'd fill those extra hours outside, but it's just been too cold here. And I'd take him to an open play somewhere, but his nose has just been too runny.  The games we used to play just don't seem to be cutting it anymore. Nate would rather run around the house exploring all of the super non-baby proofed areas. So I've needed to be more creative, but just haven't had the inspiration.

We have managed to spend quite a bit of time with our new drawer game. I filled a bottom dresser drawer with Nate's summer clothes. He loves opening the drawer, emptying the contents and then cleaning up. (I don't know where that boy got his cleaning gene.) And when that stopped being incredibly exciting, we started dressing all of his stuffed animals in those clothes. The special ones also got diapers.

Games to Play with Toddlers, RevisedYesterday we went to the library and picked up a bunch of books that are going to solve all of my problems - at least that's what the cover of one of the sleep books says. We also got Games to Play with Toddlers by Jackie Silberg. It is fantastic. There are so many great ideas in there. I think I'm going to have to buy it. I highly recommend it.

The games are grouped by subject matter (songs, car games, finger play, teddy bear games, etc.) and have age range guides. I've used a bunch of her ideas as inspiration and already I feel like it's made a difference in my life. It turns out that Nate loves when I give his dog orders ("Doggie, touch your toes. Doggie, give Nate a hug. Doggie, smell your toes.") Nate thought it was hysterical and tried to copy many of the commands himself. This turned into giving the dog a bath, putting him in pajamas and putting him to bed (please excuse the quality of the footage):

Nate signs DOG and SLEEP

A game that we played straight from the book involved turning old wooden spoons into puppets. You take a marker and draw a happy face on one and a sad face on the other. Then you have the happy face spoon talk about happy things, in a cheerful voice ("Yay, I'm so happy! I love playing with Nate!") and the sad face talk about sad things ("I'm sad because I got a boo-boo. And I have to pay taxes and student loans. Waaa, waaa. I'm crying. Cemeteries. Nursing homes.") Well, okay, that's not an exact transcript, but you get the idea. It's a great tool for teaching emotions. Nate really liked it and seemed to be getting the concepts. And I felt good because I was teaching him something and it wasn't the same old, same old boring stuff.

What games do you play with your toddler? Share!

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