Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Toddler Activity: Play in the Backyard

I am often ask how I know what to do with twin toddlers. Well, to be honest, I really don't. In fact, self-doubt is a constant companion of mine when it comes to the two most precious people in my life.
 
Enough of beating myself over the head.
 
My children have been attending child care since they were 9 months old and this year, they have moved from nursery to toddler class. Whenever I pick them up in the afternoons, I take a keen interest of the notice board located outside their room which showcases photos and descriptions of play opportunities and learning outcomes for the day. Once I have done that, I step into their room and observe their play in the large outdoor play area and have a brief chat with their teachers as well. That's how I get a good sense of what makes them tick.

The knowledge I gather from child care has shaped the way their play areas are "constructed". Here is their TOP 5 play activities in our backyard:

"Clam Shell" Sand Pit
This sand pit along with the balls are their first birthday present from a few families on our street. It has been great.

When they were younger, it was more a sensory activity for them. Sitting on the sand and squishing sand between their toes and fingers. Charlotte and Daniel also enjoyed kicking and tossing the balls out of the pit which made them giggle no end!

A few months later, we introduced the bucket and spade (another birthday gift) for the development of their motor skills - learning to scoop sand with spade into bucket, tipping it out, etc.

Now, the balls in the pit are used for teaching them about colours, counting and transferring the balls from one "clam shell" to the other.

The Easel
Charlotte and Daniel do a lot of craft at child care and enjoy this activity immensely. 

A few weeks ago, I went to Ikea and bought them their first easel. Just the one so they have to share. So far so good.

Since then I have also purchased art supplies such as paint, crayons, colouring pencils, brushes, water proof markers and chalk from Kmart.

The Little Tikes Red Car
Daniel loves car and this was the perfect purchase from eBay for him. He drives it, pushes it, sits in it when he needs a break or day dream, etc. The imagination and activities associated with this second hand purchase has been wonderful.

Play Doh
We love play doh. The squishing, kneading, creating, tasting, etc. It enables the kids to sit / stand still in the same spot for up to 5 minutes at a time while they concentrate on using various plastic tools of cutters, rolling pin and knives to create abstract objects and shapes.

Water Play
An old and clean bucket - in our case, we made sure it is rectangular so that both of them can have access to it at the same time. Plus every day items from their toy collection or my overflowing collection of containers. Plus water from the tap.

This simple set up guarantees many minutes of fun and enables me, the parent to have a sit and take a breather close by.

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