Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mommy's (Activity) Arsenal

Mommy guilt wrecks me. Seriously. I think I call my older sister/voice of sanity at least once a week to ask her if that day's mommy guilt that I am feeling is warranted or not. According to her, it never is.  Lately, I've been feeling mommy guilt because in the days before the exhaustion of pregnancy set in, my little Munchkin had it GREAT. I have looked back at photos on my phone, and MAN, I took that little boy to a playground or park pretty much every day, and going outside each afternoon was a GIVEN for him. After nap time, we had a snack and then it was out into the yard for us.

But these last few (sweltering/horridly humid) weeks and months...not so much. Granted, I have found other activities we can do that keep us in the air conditioning: free play at a gymnastics gym, the indoor playground at our local YMCA, play dates with our buddies, the mall play area, etc. But going outside to play in the yard at 4 pm every day has been an extremely rare occurence.

So, I worry and fret, and imagine that my poor active 2 year old is becoming deprived, is becoming a TV zombie, is losing muscle tone and stamina because he's not able to play outside as often as I think he should because mommy is exhausted and already sweaty in our 70 degree house. (Yes, this is how my brain works. This is not even half of what my brain does to make the mommy guilt worse.)

Which leads me to...Pinterest. I have decided that Pinterest can be a blessing and a curse. There are SO MANY amazing ideas to be found, but all of those same ideas make me the laziest person in the world. Lazy because although I have pinned HUNDREDS of great ideas, I have actually followed through on...NONE of them. Until now.

I decided I was tired of feeling guilty and tired of letting my exhaustion prevent me from providing Munchkin with some interesting hands-on activities. So, after seeing a pin about how a few simple supplies from the Dollar Store can provide several cool projects, Munchkin and I went for it. This wasn't rocket science nor was it particularly original, but I was excited to see what the Munchkin would do with our supplies. Plus, the Dollar Store is definitely in my budget.

So, here's what we bought:

The list includes: dry beans (2 kinds), uncooked rice, three types/sizes of scoops, a red bucket to serve as our sensory bin, a white colander, a divided tray and three colors of marbles to use for a sorting activity, pipe cleaners, stickers, a bag of cool rubber snakes/spiders/bugs for another sensory bin, a package of those pinball type maze games (I'm hoping this will keep him busy and quiet for a few minutes...ha!), some foam shaped sponges and circular sponges that I'm hoping to let him use with washable paints. Again, not rocket science, but I am SO excited that I have a little cabinet of goodies to pull out when we have a lull, or when his toys become boring to him, or on a rainy day.

So far, Mommy's Activity Arsenal has been a hit:
Munchkin LOVED  using the different scoops and cups to pour the dry beans and rice. I also pulled out a tin pie pan later, and I think he liked the noise the beans made when he poured them into the pan.
The beach towels worked for a while to keep the beans contained. Next time, I might use a plastic baby pool or really large cardboard box to let him do this activity in. I learned the hard way that my vacuum doesn't pick up any rice or beans off the floor.

Munchkin LOVES stickers. However, he has a good bit of trouble getting the stickers off the sheet. I was thrilled to find "puffy foil" stickers at the Dollar Store. They are raised off the sheet so that Munchkin had a blast playing with them. He is all about, "I do it!" so not needing Mommy's help was a bonus.

 Of course, the entire sleeve of stickers wound up on Munckin's shirt by the end of his play time, and he wore them like little toddler badges of honor all day.

Am I a super Pinterest Mommy? No, and that's okay. My boy had fun, and I was happy to be able to give him some new experiences. I am realizing that once Baby Girl comes, we won't be able to run around town a whole bunch while Mommy is healing and getting the hang of our new normal. I do plan on getting back to daily outings to the park and lots of playing outside, but in the mean time Mommy's Activity Arsenal will stay stocked.

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