In my opinion (and I really don't mind if you disagree with me...) good parenting comes down to preparation. You would never see a teacher walk into a classroom without doing hours of preparation for that lesson. You would never see a preacher walk up to the pulpit without pouring over their sermon for hours the week before. So why do we think that we can just wake up each day and be a good parent for our kids without a little preparation?
After all, a parent is a teacher in many senses of the word, and often it is the parents job to teach their kids some of life's most important lessons such as discipline, love, walking, talking, how to sleep, weaning, dressing themselves, potty training, manners - the list could go on. So today I want to let all you mum's with littlies know about something that requires a small amount of preparation but has been successfully used by many many parents across the world to help them teach their children.
Now I am no trained school teacher, and I don't plan on being able to teach my son everything. But I am also the mum to an inquisitive child who is full of energy, and lets face it - sometimes they ask more of you than you feel you can give them! So whilst my son was a tiny baby and could move no further than in a circle on the living room floor I endeavored to research and prepare things for the future that would stretch and challenge him, engage him and at some point distract him when I have other things I need to do (if I ever have another baby I feel this will be necessary during feeding and nap times!!) - they are BUSY BAGS.
Now busy bags come in all shapes and sizes, but basically they are a simple activity that you put inside a plastic wallet or bag of some sort which you can pull out at any time and present to your child as an all included activity. This might be when you are waiting in the doctors or maybe they are just bored one afternoon. They will vary depending on the age of your child and what they are learning at that point in time too. Here are some examples of busy bags that I have made:
- pom pom sorting into an ice cube tray (fine motor skills)
- mini washing line - felt clothes and mini pegs so they can copy what mummy does (fine motor skills)
- pipe cleaners and colander - pushing through the holes (fine motor skills)
- pom pom sorting of sizes - three different sized pom poms to sort onto paper plates (learning about sizes)
- colour sorting using paper ice cream cones and paper ice cream (colour recognition)
- threading onto shapes using a pipe cleaner needle and wool (fine motor skills)
- sandcastle building using sand paper shapes and shells/other collected items (creativity)
- felt mr potato head and clothes for dressing him in (creativity)
- play dough mats to make shapes on (different textures and creativity)
- i spy picture and cards to spot (visual skills)
- pre-writing cards that are laminated and wipe clean (writing skills)
- shape copying with lolly sticks (shape recognition)
- silhouette matching game (shape recognition)
Basically, there are so many ideas out there and a little preparation will make a huge difference to your time with your child. My son already loves the pom pom sorting games and on a dull afternoon it provides something different to his toys to play with that is teaching him something too. If you search on pinterest you will find hundreds of ideas.
But here is my ask/plea - lets as mums join together to share this preparation. In America they hold "busy bag parties" where groups of mums come together and each prepare the materials for one busy bag activity but enough for each mum who is coming. Then at the party the mum's put together their busy bags and each mum leaves with a collection of new and exciting busy bags and activities for their children. I would love to start a busy bag swap here in Doncaster, so if you are interested let me know below and I will set it up!!