It’s been so fun watching Blake’s personality develop the older he gets. Michael and I often find ourselves laughing until we cry over the things he comes up with.
“Guess what daddy? Prince Tuesday’s coming to see me!” (Daniel Tiger fans will get that one)
“Momma! There’s food stuck in my butt!”
“I want to be a green butterfly so I can fly to the sky!”
Or, today, when he was swooshing around the house in a Batman shirt and a Batman mask with a light saber, INSISTING that he was Superman. We tried to tell him his attire was Batman, but he only argued with us. So, I present to you, SUPERMAN, the super hero who takes his “saving the world” (his words) job very seriously. I guess superheroes don’t smile in the face of their duties.
His imagination is fascinating. The innocence of his thoughts are beautiful. One of his favorite things to do is any kind of Art project (making mommy so proud!). And the part that I am most proud of is that his heart is kind. Saving the world pretty much tops the random acts of kindness gig, after all.
That is not to dismiss the rest. He is very stubborn, wants his way, is mischievous, and is bored very easily. He doesn’t stay on one task for very long. This is what I find most challenging about him. He will act interested in one thing when it seems what he’s doing is his most favorite thing, and then 2-5 minutes later he is onto the next thing. I realize this can be characteristic of any 2 year old, but it does make planning for those long summer days, well, long. Free play just doesn’t engage him very long unless you specifically give him planned tools and resources to freeplay with. For instance, he will only freeplay with his trucks for only so long. Puzzles are okay, but he’s too stubborn for the pieces to fit properly together because he wants them to go where he wants them to go, not where they’re supposed to go.
As a teacher I look very forward to my summers, but there’s also a feeling of apprehension for the summer to arrive (please don’t judge me) because I know I have to keep my very active son entertained. I’ve spent 3 summers with him and each one has endured its own set of challenges, yet, as he gets older it becomes more fun, but requires more planning on my part. (This is the part that I admit that parenthood leaves you perpetually exhausted, and while you know you’re exhausted, it’s also a normal exhaustion that you just accept and become accustomed to, even though you constantly am reminded of that exhaustion.)
As of this weekend Michael and I decided to not allow him to watch TV unless it’s an episode of one thing in the morning, and another just before bed at night. TV is too often an easy go-to, for us or for him when he’s immediately “bored” with what he’s doing.
TV has started to become a problem because he’s begun acting out when we tell him he isn’t allowed to watch any more Daniel Tiger. And oh, how we have seen every episode 10 times! We’ve always been pretty adamant about limiting screen time, but I feel more and more screen time has crept itself in the older he’s gotten. So, with our new restrictions on his screen time I’ve decided to get more creative in ways to keep him entertained, engaged, and learning. This new rule has been instituted for 2 days and I’ve already seen an improvement in his ability to focus, or is it that I’ve planned more things for him to do? Probably a combination of both.
I am not saying that electronics are bad. I do think it affects a lot of kids negatively, and it is clear it has impacted our little man in a negative way.
So, I wanted to share some of activities I’ve been doing with him this summer on my blog for easy reference to myself, but realizing it also may be of benefit to someone else looking for fun ideas to do with their toddler.
This is a matching Landmarks activity I made. I found this “Landmarks” worksheet online. You can download the worksheet here. You may have to create a FREE account. I printed 2 copies of it and laminated both. I use this laminating machine that I purchased on Amazon. I kept one copy intact and cut out the pieces of each one from the second copy. He had to match each individual landmark to the one on the paper, and say what kind of landmark it was. Hills, mountains, pond, and river were new words he got to learn! I love watching his mind grow!
I purchased a small construction booklet from the dollar store and it had tracing paper inside. I traced a picture of a truck (which he’s crazy about!) and had him practice his cutting skills. My cute little left-hander. 😉
He butchered the truck completely, but the idea here was to get him better with cutting. The “hook” was using the truck to do that. He was disappointed when his truck didn’t look so good, but I told him it was okay and that we would keep practicing. After this I just gave him a blank sheet of paper and let him cut. He ended up doing some straight lines and was so proud of himself “I did it, momma!”, he yelled.
We order from Amazon A LOT. So if there’s one thing we have loads of it’s boxes piling up. I hate throwing things like this away because I feel it can always be put to good use. I asked Blake if he wanted to make something out of the box and the first thing he said was “A flying police car for Lamby!” He said the side flaps looked just like wings. I cut out part of the windship so Lamby could see and poked holes in the back so he could have some fun with pipe cleaners or shoe laces, his choice. He chose black and orange to weave through the back. He also used a glue stick to glue on cotton balls, and had lots of fun with globs of tape.
I can’t say that it actually looks like a flying police car, but if he thinks so then that’s all that matters to me.
We had some fun with the water table with our neighbor. The water became uninteresting pretty fast, so I put some bubble bath in and it became half an hour of pure fun! Some other ideas of water table fun this summer: spaghetti, colored water and bubbles, jello, mud.
Though difficult to see here, this is a bathtub with glow sticks. We often have a hard time getting B to get into the tub, but these are always a hit! You can buy them in a pack of 5 at the dollar store. Break, shake, and watch them light up for hours! They also make a nice fun nightlight.
As a mom, I continue to learn so much about myself and I’ve changed so much as the person I thought I was, or the person I was once. As a teacher, I am learning that summers are no longer about me like they once were. I may not be able to sleep in past my normal work alarm clock from June to August. And I may not get as much planning done as I’d like. I may not get to binge watch Nextlix as I daydream of. This doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes long for all of this, because I really do, but my summer truly means more than all of those selfish desires these days. It means making lifelong memories with my little man. Because next year his 2 year old self will be gone.
Life has presented its challenges to our little family recently, but I have to look beyond that, not dwell on it, and know that God is in ultimate control. Right now I have until August to make the most of this special time together with Blake.
I plan on updating with other activities, too. If anyone is also searching for ways to keep their little one entertained, I pray this proves useful and full of little blessings to share with your kid! If you have any other fun ideas, please share! This mom of an active and curious 2 year old could use all the hands-on ideas she can get!
2 thoughts on “Active Summer Activities”
Love it! We have 3 active kids, and it’s such a challenge trying to keep up with them. Your ideas are great – really love the glowsticks in the bathtub idea, we’ll have to try that. Some things that work well for us – for independent play – are the wooden train tracks from Ikea (cheap, last forever, fit practically every wooden train out there including Thomas) because they’re easy enough for a little kid to put together and then spend lots of time zooming trains around. Screen time is a big problem for us too – videos more than anything else, so we limit videos and allow free access to other educational apps like ABC Mouse. Does Blake like sidewalk chalk? Playdough? With this age it’s best to keep a mix of things because they lose attention so fast!
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I really keep meaning to buy the wooden trains from Ikea! I want to, but his attention span is so short that I worry about him not playing with them as much and quickly losing interest. But, I should just bite the bullet!
He isn’t interested in ABC Mouse. Too bad it doesn’t have a common theme of TRUCKS, then he’d be al about it! HA. May be next year!
We loooove sidewalk chalk, but that only keeps his attention for a short time. Though I found paint chalk at Target in the dollar section and that has been pretty fun to play with. Have you seen it?
I am looking forward to the days when his attention lasts a tad longer. 😉