Thursday, February 16, 2012

Exercise for Cabin Fever part 1: Ideas?

Playing outdoors as much as possible is so important for children. The sunshine, the feel and sound of nature, and of course the physical activity. So hello scarves mittens hats boots and many many layers. Hello umbrellas and boots and raincoats. I'm really thankful we have such gear so my son can comfortably explore and exercise in various weather.

Whether it's because the weather is so bad it's unwise to play outside, or there's illness, or the schedule, some days the family is stuck indoors. Maybe for several days in a row. Everyone develops cabin fever. Especially toddler. That three year old just wants to run and climb.

I'm sure, if you've worked with kids before, have kids,  or remember your own childhood,  you've seen a preschooler with cabin fever. We all need that daily sunshine and exercise. Who can really blame them?

So what do you keep on hand for such times? Do you play indoor sports,  reach for a book of physical activity ideas, or have some preschool exercise DVD you and your child enjoy?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day and the Balloon

In our house Valentine's Day began last night. S came home from work with flowers for me and a big red balloon for T. He shrieked with joy when he saw it. Wouldn't play with anything else the rest of the evening. At bedtime it had to be fastened in sight of his bed. Today it has followed him around, room to room, all day long. He couldn't nap without it nearby.
How is it that something as simple as a balloon fills children with such delight? Its appeal is undeniable.  The hours of play following made the gift far more valuable than we paid. I love the pure, simple delight of a small child.  O that we adults could recapture their sweet satisfaction in the simple things of life.

Tis the gift to be simple
Tis the gift to be free
Tis the gift to find out
Where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves
in the place just right
Twill be in the valley
Of love and delight.

Monday, February 13, 2012

T Wants a Garden!

T wants to garden!

Back at our old house we tried container gardening. While we did live in a good size condo our yard was tiny, shaded most of the day (got a couple hours sun sometimes), and faced north. The crops yielded were minuscule, literally. I have never seen such tiny bell peppers before!

Now that we've moved for S's job we're renting a house while our condo back in our old town is on the market. One thing the homeowner mentioned to us is there's a patch in the back yard the former tenants used as a garden. We have permission to use it this spring.

My husband and I haven't talked much about it since it's only February. However, on Friday T and I were shopping at Whole Foods when we saw two racks of seeds- flower seeds and vegetable seeds. "I want a garden, Mama. May I please buy some? Please?" T begged.

While we returned home without the packets of seeds over supper I brought up a garden again with S. He turned to T "Do you want to have a garden?" He shouldn't have asked! Does T ever! Now T can hardly wait until we turn the soil and plant our spring garden.

I decided it's definitely time to start looking up resources for gardening up here. Last time I have a successful garden was when I lived in Louisiana. But gardening in Louisiana is very different from gardening in the midwest! Well, now that I think of it, that's the last time I had a successful vegetable garden; since then I've just had success with herbs. I used to spend hours gardening in my free time. Houseplants, a beautiful flowering dogwood tree, strawberries, sweet potatoes...

Googling I've already found several interesting resources. Of course, I'll have to buy T some 3-year-old size garden tools, and Montessori resource catalogs will be my best bet for finding high-quality preschool-size tools. As for what to plant when, I found a site that shows region-by-region month-by-month what to plant when. It's not a bad start. I've found a list of books on gardening in my state as well. I'll have to read them.

T would be thrilled to no end if I bought some seeds to sprout. The question is, will he really be as in to the idea of a garden when it comes time to start planting seeds? In toddler time, it's a long way off. A toddler's interest can change so quickly...

My mom sent me a link on tumblr. (Do you tumble? I do a little) It led back to another blogspot blog called Homemade Serenity where I learned something about green onions. Apparently it's pretty easy to grow your own green onions indoors! This is a perfect project for T me while we wait for spring to inch closer.

Any toddler garden recommendations?