Quality time with a toddler

monkeyIt’s summer. It’s hot. You don’t want to go outside because you will melt. What do you do with a toddler? Here are some pretty simple and easy ideas.

Finger Painting
This is my FAVOURITE!!! I love finger painting and Memphis does too. I usually set up or studio on the kitchen floor because it is easy to clean and is near the bathroom so it is convenient for a quick bath afterwards. We made our own paints using 2 Tablespoons of sugar, 1/3 cup of flour and 2 cups of water. Put all ingredients into a saucepan and stir using a whisk on medium heat until the mixture becomes similar to a paint like thickness. Pour mixture into different dishes and use food colouring to mix your colours. Let mixture cool or use the freezer to help quicken up the cooling (I did this because I don’t have the greatest of patients lol), and start painting. I always have an extra canvas around the house so I usually let her paint on that but you could use any type of paper you have. We always have a blast! She generally uses her entire body as a paintbrush and we generally both covered in paint. Once you’re finished, you end up with some pretty cool art to hang in her room.

Reading
Everyone knows the benefits of reading to children and why it is important which is why I do it so often. Another reason is because it offers a great opportunity for us to have quality time. Once a week, we go to the library and pick out a bunch of different books to read at home. This breaks up the repetitiveness of always reading the same books on her bookshelf and it acts like a little adventure outing for us. I let her pick out whatever books she wants (thank goodness you can get nearly a zillion out at a time).We read all the time and always at night before bed, cuddled up on the couch all comfy in her pjs and under a blanket. I take my time reading books adding in different voices or noises where necessary. I also point out different objects as we read and she is doing so well pointing out known objects. Objects she doesn’t know, she points to it as if to ask for clarification. Recently, she has begun to pick up books and ‘read’ on her own. I nearly cried the first time she did this because I was so proud and my heart was so full.

Dancing/Singing
It has become a custom in our home to have music playing when we are busy in the kitchen making dinner. As I chop away, Memphis is ‘helping’ by opening every cupboard, banging on pots and pans, and twirling in my not so large kitchen. As a huge Elvis Presley fan, my station of choice is the Elvis station, which plays lots of Elvis and other classic artists such as Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly etc. I have often been known to throw on the ‘Dirty Dancing’ or ‘Footloose’ LP as well:) Before long, I have Memphis is my arms and we are dancing around the kitchen. She loves to dance and laughs and smiles as I twirl her around and rock her back and forth. When a good power ballad-comes on, we each have our microphones (silicone basting brushes) and we take turns singing. Dinner time at the ‘HJ’ household is definitely entertaining and it generally takes way longer to make anything but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cuddle Time
We have gotten into a pretty normal routine when we wake up in the morning. Bum change, turn the coffee pot on, ‘bubba’, momma gets a coffee and then we have cuddle time. For about half an hour every morning we snuggle on the couch side-by-side, talking, reading, watching some cartoons and obviously giving her lots of kisses and tickling her until I hear that adorable little laugh.

These are just some of the things I do with Memphis that we look forward to. I’m sure there are a million others that you can do but these are just some of the ones that I have done. After I do any of these with her, I feel immediately calmed and relaxed and I have a huge smile on my face because even for just a few minutes, I know we spent some good, quality time together:)

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