I’m a Planner

This is what the side of our fridge looks like now. I also have a number of notebooks on the go…

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With my husband able to work from home this has already been very useful for us.  He has an idea of how I see mine and Aidan’s day going and he can plan little breaks into his working day to come and play with us. For example I’m not really able to run around the garden with Aidan at the moment ( I’m 28 weeks pregnant and feeling it!) so Daddy can take a break, run around a little bit and then we can all go out for a walk.

The daily break downs are a memory jog for me, I put some cars in the freezer for an activity and completely forgot, but when I saw ‘frozen cars’ on the note for yesterdays PM activity I knew what I was planning to do! (And that precious freezer space could be freed back up should we need it)!

It’s also helpful to have all this there so that if I got sick Daddy would have some inspiration for things to do.  I wouldn’t expect him to “do it my way”, he’s creative and perfectly capable of thinking up activities for the themes, but anything I can do to help ease the stress of a situation like that puts my mind at ease too.

I have planned which themes we’ll do each week all the way up to the end of June, this just helps me focus on the themes for the closest weeks when I’m scrolling Pinterest for inspiration.

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I’m particularly looking forward to the At Home theme, I can’t wait to teach Aidan how to do all the chores I hate… ;D

Follow me over on Instagram to see what we’re doing day to day and check back here for more of my planning posts soon!

 

Charity Shop “Haul”

So in my last post I said I’d been to our local charity shop to try and get a hold of a few bit to help me with our upcoming themes and activities. I thought I’d show you what I got and give you an idea of what I’m going to do with them.

I’ve also done a few Amazon orders and so I’ll do a post about those items soon.

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I was pretty pleased with what I found, I’ll be keeping these things hidden away until they are needed so that they are new and interesting to Aidan when they come out. I’ll break it down into themes.

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I got a farmer and tractor, these will probably end up nice and muddy. A book of various stories and rhymes about Old McDonald and Farmyard bingo.  I’m not expecting Aidan to be able to play this, but we can use the tiles as flash cards so he can learn the animals names and sounds.  I’m also just noticing that there’s a storybook included in that, I’ve not actually opened it yet so we’ll have to see if it’s in there.

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The zoo was a topic I was planning to do very soon, in the hope that we might still be able to get out to the zoo, with the ever changing guidelines and recommendations for high risk groups (I have asthma and am pregnant so currently fall into two of the three groups) I thought it best to put it off until later in the year, even if I can’t get out maybe Daddy can take Aidan out to see the animals.

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This one was a little more for me than Aidan really, I wanted something with some dino facts and nice pictures to inspire me.  It does have flaps though so Aidan will be happy to sit down with me and have a look through. I also managed to grab a few plastic dinosaurs on a more recent trip out. I’ll be doing some messy play with those.

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A few of these things will be usable over multiple topics, these will all get used for our Animal theme.  The puppies at the back will be covered in sticky back plastic and made into puzzles.

These three are just a few extras that caught my eye.  I thought they could be extra visual aids to support themes.  Nice pictures and even though I’m not, for example, expecting Aidan to lean the alphabet from the large flashcards, they can be out and we can still talk about the letters and pictures.

A lot of these things will probably act as more of a prompt for me and help me think about what things fall into certain themes and topics.  In the end I want Aidan to have fun and enjoy playing and I can tell that he enjoys playing more when there’s not hundreds of toys all over the floor and mummy is say on the sofa watching.  Having the themes helps me focus what tops and activities I provide for him and the displacement activity of planning and organising our week around the themes is giving me the mental peace to continue to enjoy playing with him.  I feel like I’ve been productive and have helped make the world a little better for Aidan by planning thing for him to do and so I can allow myself the time to play with him, instead of worrying about things I cannot effect.

Follow me over on Instagram to see what we’re doing day to day and check back here for more of my planning posts soon!

On the Road – Day One

If you’re not sure what this post is about head to my previous post and have a read of that first, then come back here.

I will try and get into the habit of loosely planning out the whole weeks worth of activities, so I have plenty of time to prepare, but organising each activity the evening before or during the day.

Our theme for this week is ‘On the Road’, Aidan loves vehicles and so this was a fairly easy theme to get started with.  I started by writing down a few activity ideas that I can use throughout the week. I wrote down anything that came to mind, from messy ‘Tractors in the mud’ to really simple ‘Pointing out cars on the way to the shop’.  This helped me to see that even the simplest, most every day activities could be a source of entertainment.

Today was off to a bit of a funny start because Aidan woke up early and so he needed a nap by 9am… So we got the day started properly at 10am with some outdoor play.

I put his ball pool out with some cars in and his bike. Mostly he just wanted to be chased but we did spend a little bit of time using the cars to push balls around and rolling cars as far as we could with one push.  He also had his snack outside which isn’t usual so i think he enjoyed that.

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Then we went for a walk to the charity shops in the village, I wanted to try and pick up a few things that would help me with future activities and on the way we talked about what cars we could see.  I’d asked Aidan before we left what he thought we might see and he wanted to see a tractor, I told him I didn’t think we’d see a tractor but I was wrong! He spotted it way out on the main road and was very excited to point it out to me.

When we got back it was time for lunch, while daddy and I put a few bits together Aidan played by himself. After lunch we put him down for his nap.   The morning nap was 100% required but totally screwed us up for his afternoon nap.  He ended up chatting and singing to himself in his cot for 30 mins or so, long enough for me to clear away all the mornings toys and set out a few new things for him to play with (and put my feet up for 10 minutes with a cuppa).

We spent the afternoon building towers and running cars down tracks, two toys he rarely gets out on his own.  We read a couple of books and talked about what we could see in them.  At about 3 we went back out into the garden to play with a ball and some larger push along toys.  I had hoped he would entertain himself a little so I could wash the dishes but he wanted to play together so we kicked the ball around and he had his afternoon snack.  Getting him back inside was challenging, he wanted to play on his bike and be chased some more but it was getting cold and I was starting to get a bit stiff so I tempted him back inside telling him he could race his bike around while I started tea. Daddy to the rescue at this point, we have a running stroller and Aidan loves going out for a run with daddy so they went out while I made tea.

We played quietly with bricks once we were done and then it was time for his bedtime routine. The day flowed quite naturally, I had quick and simple activities up my sleeve in case we ran out of steam on something so it’s nice to have those in the bag for another day!

Tuesdays and Wednesdays he goes to a childminder and all being well he will be able to do that as normal this week. I will plan another couple of days of activities on our theme and hopefully that will see us through the week. I guess we’re going to be taking each day as it comes for now, trying to keep as much normality as we can until things change. It’s nice to feel prepared though and getting into good habits early will help us later.

Our Day – Roughly…

Chances are at some point in the next few weeks we’re going to be told we have to stay inside. One of my big anxieties is around keeping Aidan, who’s nearly 2, well entertained and myself sane. I took a look at Five Minute Mum’s website and Instagram for a few ideas and her latest blog post was a big help. I definitely find that I need structure and routine to help keep me calm. Not rigid hour by hour type stuff, but I like to have a plan for the day and if I can extend that to a loose week plan it’s even better. I had a look at FMM’s example of how she would structure her day if she had to keep her kids home and used that as a base to create something for us too. Today was day one, I thought I might as well start straight away to get into the habit. It was brilliant! Here’s how I’m doing things.

Our day normally starts around 6 and we try to have a fairly relaxed morning getting ready.

6am – 8am – Free play, Breakfast, Wash and Dress

Aidan isn’t at school so we wont need to keep up with his education, but I do like to encourage his development through activities and play.

8am – 10am – Books, Communication based games, Drawing/colouring. – These are activities that support development of speech, reading, writing etc. obviously I do not expect him to read or write, but drawing helps with fine motor control which supports writing. Being read too supports his reading and doing activities that involve him following instructions are good for his understanding of language.

10am- 1130 – Snack, Outdoor play (clean/dry), Physical play, The World. – at the moment we can still go outside to parks or the shops, these activities would be included in this slot.

1130 – 1300 – Free play, Lunch.

1300 – 1500 – Nap/ Quiet time, Snack. – The length of his nap can vary day to day and some days he wont sleep at all, but I do try to leave him in his cot as long as he is happy. This gives me a bit of a break and I think is good for him. Even if he doesn’t sleep he seems more refreshed after a bit of time in a dark and quiet room.

1500 – 1600 – Outside play (Dirty/ Wet), Messy play, “Science”/baking, Water. – We are lucky to have a nice garden that we (we assume?!) can continue to use so we’ll be out there as much as possible for messy play.

1600 – 1700 – Free play, TV time – This is my opportunity to tidy and cook.  Aidan is not particularly interested in TV unless it’s Peppa Pig in which case he would watch it all day. Most days we don’t have the TV on, but it can be very a useful tool to get a bit of quiet time.

1700 – Tea Time

Aidan goes to bed around 630 so any time after tea is spent playing with daddy and getting ready for bed.

Each “slot” it very rough, they are acting as more of a prompt for me to mix the day up and keep things interesting for him.  If he is enjoying being outside I’m not going to drag him kicking and screaming back into the house because the timetable says he should be playing inside. Likewise if he’s not interested in an activity then he’s free to go away and do something else.

I’ve picked a theme for the week and so the toys and books I get out and the activities that I organise will be related to the theme in some way. Again this is just as much for me as it is for him, for example today I found it much easier to engage in his play because I had had little ideas of how this toy or activity could reflect the theme. I encouraged him to play with me as I did things and he seemed more engaged because we were playing together. Aidan is very good at playing on his own and so I must admit that I often find it very easy to disengage from his playtime and scroll Instagram, but today I loved that for the vast majority of the day I was on the floor or in the garden and my phone lay mostly untouched on the counter top.

For my own benefit entirely I’ve written down what we did today and things I noticed him doing that I thought were interesting for example he was able to stack a tower of bricks much higher than I’d seen him do before. I’m doing this to keep me motivated, I can look back and see how he engaged with what we were doing.

I’m going to share some of our days here and if I find any other good resources I’ll try and leave links in case they can be helpful.

Five Minute Mum

What to Expect, When? – We bought a copy of this after having it recommended by a family member that’s a childminder.  It’s great for getting an idea of how children develop from birth to 5 years.  It has some suggestions for things you can do to support development areas.