Ella has been helping me cook for a good year now, it's such a great thing for us to do together as I need to get our meal prepared and she wants to have my attention and spend time with me. This way we both stay happy and even thought it might take twice as long to get the dinner cooked, there are at least no tears! Plus there are so many lessons to be learned in the kitchen, we measure, weigh and count; pour and stir; chop, grate and sieve. We taste and we talk - about what we're cooking, about our days.
However much Ella enjoys helping me with the cooking, it gives a whole new level of satisfaction for her to be able to make a snack for herself almost entirely on her own. I'm trying to compile a whole lot of toddler friendly recipes. These banana popsicles were a big hit - needless to say she was very enthusiastic about her first taste of Nutella!
How do you entertain a toddler on a hot day when you've got a list of chores as long as your arm to get through? Put them to work of course! Ella had so much fun washing the car with Daddy and I think he had a lot more fun than usual too.
The real bonus of course was that it left me free to have a sleep on the sofa while Jacob was napping! Happy days!
Do you ever have those days where you really do want to do something fun with your kids but coming up with the ideas is just too hard? I first came across this idea in Montessori at Home! a really great e-book for anyone who is drawn to the Montessori way of learning, it's full of ideas for simple and inexpensive activities that you can set up at home.
Our Activity Jar is full of ideas for fun things that we can do if we are ever stuck for inspiration. Many of them are really simple things, such as 'Brush your hair', 'Read a book', 'Dance' etc. The activities are all colour coded into groups such as 'Art and Cooking' 'Outdoor Play' 'Active Play' etc so that we can ask Ella to pick a certain colour based on what sort of activity would suit the situation.
I sat brainstorming (and searching Pinterest!) for a couple of hours to create my lists but I think it will prove to be time well spent. It's certainly not an exhaustive list and I'm sure it will be added to, but for now it's a wonderful resource to have. Excuse me now, I have to go and help create an obstacle course...