|Mister mouse showing me his “pirate” hat|
I can remember when I had our second child and I thought I would neverbe able to handle two children at the same time by myself (and now we have three under age 3!). At this point in our life, we had not yet settled on homeschooling our children, so our oldest was enrolled in our church preschool. He absolutely LOVED it there and thrived!! In fact, I often tell my best friend (she was one of his 4yo teachers) that they are the reason he learned to read so early, quickly and easily. In fact, I’m absolutely terrifiedthat I’m not going to be able to teach my others! Seriously, it keeps me up some nights and mister mouse is not even 3 years old yet! I digress…He was at school ½ days for three days a week and I really only had the two of them together on Mondays and Fridays (and yes…in the afternoons, but our oldest would come home and go straight down for his nap…boy that was nice!).
Then, it hit me one day how much teachable time I was missing out on! I mean, sure I could sit him down at the table to color, draw, write his letters, do flash cards, etc., but what about when I was nursing mister mouse? What could I do then? Often times, my sweet 4yo (at the time) would climb up next to me on the couch and just want to be near me. But, there were plenty of times I could hear him rustling in the kitchen, playing with the pans, pulling things out of the pantry, dumping an entire bucket of toys all over his floor and the list goes on. So, before I sat down to feed mister mouse, I grabbed a plastic sack (you know one of those ba-zillion you have stuffed in your pantry closet?) and asked my son to come over to me. I told him we were going to play a game while mommy fed the baby. I was going to give him 5 things to find, put in his sack and bring back to me. You should have seen his face light up! First of all, you have to understand how much my oldest loves playing games. And second, he loves anything that allows him to run around the house! It was a win-win in his book!!
So, I gave him a list of 5 things (keeping in mind some of the toys he had in his room) to bring back to me. They could be 5 colors, 5 shapes or a combination of the two. It would go something like this:
“Bring me something red, something brown, something square, something round and something green. Ready? Set? GO!” (Often times I would repeat what I asked for 2-3 times so he could really get it in his head.)
And off he’d run! As I was peacefully feeding mister mouse, I could hear the giggling and the clanging of his toys as he shuffled through them. Pretty soon he’d come running back to the living room his eyes lit up with excitement and joy. Then, he’d dump out his findings and repeat to me what he’d found: “A red car, a brown train track, a square block, a lego wheel and a green truck. Did I get it right, Mommy? Did I?” “Yes you did! YAY!!!! Way to go! You have such a good memory!” “Can I play again, Mommy?” “Of course you can!”
And we’d go on like that for 30 – 40 minutes!! He absolutely loved this game, and frankly, so did
I. I had so much joy watching him run after things and really think hard about what would work for the list I gave him. There were times when he surprised me by what he found and how it fit what I’d asked for. I was blown away by his intelligence, even at the tender age of 4!!
This simple, easy and
FUN activity taught:
* color recognition
* shape recognition
* counting (he would often count to make sure he had 5 items in the bag before he would say he was finished)
This simple activity kept him occupied while I was feeding a baby and taught him at the same time. And who says you can’t multi-task while feeding a baby?!
I’m sure there are many more variations you could do with this little came to increase the difficulty as they grew older. I just haven’t thought them through yet. If you do (or have done) something similar to this, comment here and tell me about it! I’d love to hear your ideas!!!
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Annette has been married to her husband and best friend since 2003. Together they are raising their six children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet all her angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating fun and engaging printables, unit studies and curriculum for homeschool families. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about marriage, parenting, and homeschooling all while maintaining her sanity. She is also the owner of Thrifty Homeschoolers, where she shares free printables and resources from around the web as well as deals on curriculum and homeschooling resources. You can also keep up with her via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.