Why we don’t need a baby brother or sister to play with

Last night as I scrolled through the pictures on my phone I casually remarked to papa bear ” little bear doesn’t need a baby brother or sister “

By this I mean he already has 7 siblings and not that we had any plans of finding him a baby brother or sister.

But because of the huge age gap between him and his youngest sister (14 years) I naturally worried about him not spending enough time with other children his age.

It’s very strange , I spent years home schooling and never once worried about socialization. The kids were close in age, belonged to many groups and I was actively involved in their Homeschool groups, church groups and extra murals.

With little bear I think because it’s almost as if he could be an only child that I worry about how much interaction he has with kids his own age.

For this reason little bear is at school half day and loves it. He is also the only one of my children to attend preschool before the age of 5 years.

Socialization is important as children learn so many life skills interacting with their peers. I also dont want him to become too big for his age or obnoxious by only being around adults. It’s important to me that he is a child for as long as they can be and plays as one

So the reason for my remark , I ran through my last week and went through my photos I realise just how much interaction he actually has.

And I was worried about him socialising 😂🤣

My week

Both Monday and Tuesday my son Byron, his friend and her 4 month old came for a visit. Little bear was very gentle with the baby.

Wednesday we went to a funeral and little bear made a new little friend of 7. The boys spent the next few hours racing cars far too loudly in a mothers room.

Following that we went for a braai at a friend and he played with the 3 children there. A 6 year old, 4 year old and 5 month old.

As we got home my 4 big boys were home , with a friend and her little boy of 4 months old.

Thursday little bear and I were at the water expo at V & A and we sat to play at the kids park where he joined in with the other kids running about the pirate ship.

Friday we went to visit an old work collegue of mine at her preschool and little bear played with the children there.

Saturday and Sunday he had all his brothers and sisters in and out the house.

Yesterday, Monday, after a full busy day of playing with the kids at school we joined the Brownie troop for some craft time and an Easter Egg hunt. My eldest daughter is the Brownie troop leader so we often join them . Little bear loved playing with the girls and all the attention.

I can breathe a sigh of relief and not stress to badly about him mixing with other kids or the need for him to have a baby brother or sister to play with 😆

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13 Free play ideas for Toddlers

Toddlers learn best through play.

The activities below will keep your toddler busy as well as teach them vital skills.

I’ve personally used each idea either in a class or with my own kids.

  • Ribbons in a bottle

Take an empty bottle with a wide lid . Stuff with ribbon. Help your child to push the ribbon in and pull it out.

  • Pom pom play
  • For this you need a bowl of pom Poms and some tweezers. Use the tweezers to transfer the pom Poms into and out of the bowl.

    • Colander pipe cleaners

    Take several coloured pipe cleaners and a colander. Turn the colander upside down and have your toddler stick the pipe cleaners in using the colander like a peg board.

    • Corn kernel sensory box

    This is great for if you have a child learning about the farm or food theme. Place popcorn into a shallow box. Insert farm animals, farmer and a tractor into the kernels covering them.

    Give your child spoons, a funnel, an empty container and a jug to play with.

    Let them discover the animals and scoop out the kernels. Teach them to pour the kernels into the container and how they pass through the funnel.

    • Cardboard box

    This is self explanatory, give your child a box and let their imaginations go wild.

    • Rip tissue paper

    This is fantastic for fine motor skills. You can start with soft papers like serviettes, tissue paper and work up to white paper, old magazines and wrapping paper.

    • Fabric scraps

    Give your child a box of fabric scraps.

    On a huge piece of paper trace around their body. Let them glue on the fabric scraps to make clothing.

    • Jars and lids

    Take several jars with lids. Unscrew all the lids. Muddle them up and have your child match the right lid to the container and screw it on.

  • Pots and pans orchestra
  • Hold your ears with this one. Give the kids some old pots and wooden spoons let them make music.

    • Transfer water

    This is especially fun in the bathroom but a bowl of water outside will also work.

    Fill a container and have your child transfer water from it to another container.

    You can use a variety of different items like spoons, cups, jugs, buckets, ect.

    • Stack cups

    Let your child stack plastic cups or Tupperware in your kitchen the same way they stack blocks.

    • Toothpicks and meat trays

    Draw a simple picture on a meat tray and let your toddler prick all around it to make the pattern.

    Most importantly have fun and always stop an activity if your toddler has lost interest.

    In this moment Time stood still

    And then he kissed me !

    Little bear smothers us in love and kisses all the time. Huge big sloppy toddler kisses that have accompanying soundtracks that sound like gumless zombies eating mangos.

    This morning on the bus I was taking a few selfies of us and he gently reached up and placed the softest butterfly kiss on my cheek.

    I was overwealmed at how gentle and unexpected the gesture was.

    Such a pure expression of love

    and

    in that moment time stood still.

    We survived The Cape Town Carnival with a toddler

    Bear is at that age now where he Does Not sit still, not even for a healthy amount of bribing.

    He loves to explore and the world is just so big and exciting … of course he wants to view it all, touch it all and do it all.

    This naturally means all outings currently feel like Olympic sporting events with one or both of us running after him.

    Our eyes have to be EVERYEHERE.

    Do not be fooled by those adorable blue eyes, inside my cute little toddler lurks a pint sized Tasmanian devil, who posseses the road runner’s sprinting skills and can climb and swing on everything like Mogli from the jungle book.

    Bearing all this in mind we diligently still try to engage in normal activities to maintain a degree of our sanity.

    Last night was no exception.

    We attempted to watch the Cape Town Carnival …

    With a toddler !

    It was going well, I packed enough oh my goodness snacks (see what a good mom I am …did I mention this was because we were going to skip supper and full up on junk) a bottle , warm clothing and a blanket.

    I dragged along his pram to sit in and was confident that we were ready for this.

    We secured a spot behind some deck chairs and waited …

    I seemed to have forgotten we would be waiting and bear got very bored.

    Not allowed to run around he also got very cranky.

    We tried to entertain him. Papa rushed off to find a milkshake and thankfully the parade eventually started.

    Trying to get bear a good view of the parade, papa held him on his shoulders and the oooohs and aaaaaahs started.

    How refreshing to see the carnival through the wonder and delight of a child’s eyes.

    Bear loved the lights , the floats, the music and the excitement.

    At one point papa and I were dancing to the drums with bear.

    At 9pm, an hour after bedtime and 4 trips to find milkshakes later bear grabbed his blanket from me . Took hold of his bottle and fell into a deep sleep in his pram ….just as the marching band came past.

    I held my breath

    Not a sound from bear …

    Can someone please explain how my toddler sleeps through a marching band but if I so much as move at night he wakes up.

    Sigh!

    The life of a toddler mom ….so many struggles! So many rewards!

    When mamma messes up the cut

    It started off innocently….

    I was looking at bears wild hair, gently stroking the ginger locks as he slept thinking just how wild and messy it was looking.

    Silently kicking myself for not allowing Maddy Magoo to chop off the now untidy little curls at the back.

    A lightbulb flashed and I thought I’d just give it a trim.

    You know, just straighten the back. Maybe cut the curls a bit shorter and sort out the part by the ears.

    Not hard!

    I grabbed my scissors and snip…

    A piece of ginger hair in my hand I observed my handiwork.

    Yikes! That wasn’t straight at all.

    I’ll just neaten it up !

    And these were the last few words that filtered through my brain before I, like a frenzied shark, started the journey tg2at would lead to the worst hair cut in the century.

    When papa got home a few hours later bear had steps in the back of his hair and a giant piece of hair cut over one ear.

    All his writhering and protest at my haircut had left us both worn and I had abandoned the process.

    Papa was not impressed as he grabbed the cutters from their box.

    Reluctantly we took bear to the shower and 15 minutes of wild , flailing hair everywhere and a screaming bear followed.

    The result is a cute little red haired boy who looks like he just enrolled in the army.

    It’s a good thing hair grows back!

    And what have I learnt ? To put www.maddymagoo.co.za on speed dial.

    15 fun Toddler Activities to do this weekend

    As an educator I enjoy easy activities that not only keep kids busy but allow them to learn through play.

    Here are 15 fun easy activities to keep your toddler ( and you) busy this weekend.

    1.Cut up pipe cleaners – collect a variety of coloured pipe cleaners and let your child practice their cutting skills by cutting the pipe cleaners into smaller pieces.

    2.Balloon badminton – make 2 bats by taping a carton tube to a paper plate. Alternatively You can cut a pool noodles and each use a piece or use fly swatter. Take turns using a balloon as the ball to hit.

    3.Bubbles wrap runway – this is very cute and perfect for little toddlers. Place a long strip of bubble wrap on the ground. Have your child stand like an aeroplane , arms outstretched and run down the runway to take off and fly.

    4.Golf tees into Styrofoam – for this you need a few golf tees and some Styrofoam. Give your child a wooden hammer and let him hammer each tee into the Styrofoam.

    5.Highways – make roads from tape on the ground and let your toddler ride their cars on the roads.

    6.Treasure hunt – hide a few items in a room or outside. Draw the items into a piece of paper and help your child to find each one. I like a nature hunt where each child has to find a few items to collect outside.

    7.Cereal necklaces – using a cereal that looks like hoops make a necklace by stringing tgem onto a piece of string or ribbon.

    8.Thread cereal onto a spaghetti stick – place a piece of raw spaghetti into a piece of playdough. Thread cereal with hoops onto the spaghetti.

    9.Newspaper balls – roll newspaper up into a ball and throw, kick and roll the balls with your toddler.

    10.Roll down a hill- I’m sure you all remember the fun of rolling downhill and in the grass. Teach your toddler to roll downhill.

    11.Balance beam- a balance beam can be made from a piece of plank or a few bricks placed together . Allow your child to hold your hand until they are confident enough to balance by themselves.

    12.Block stack – use blocks or plastic containers to stack into tall towers and let your toddlers knock it over.

    13.Lacinging cards – cut some easy shapes from card boxes. Old cereal boxes work best. Punch all around and let your child use a shoe lace to thread around.

    14.Cook with mud- who didn’t love cooking with mud as a child? Give them some old kitchen utensils and make a small mud patch outside. This is great for creativity.

    15.Peg play-allow your child to peg the clothing pegs on and off a paper plate, shoebox or string tied between two chair legs.

    Twinkle little star

    As I always do I randomly burst out into a bad version of song for little bear.

    Today it just happened to be Twinkle little star…

    It’s fun, has actions and I’ve been dying to sing a song where bear joins in.

    Not expecting much bare a little finger flickering I started.

    Me :

    Twinkle twinkle little star ( hands opening and closing)

    How I wonder what you are ( hands turned up as I shrug in wonder)

    Up ..

    Strange voice of bear singing:

    UP

    UP

    UP

    UP

    UP

    UP

    UP

    (Wildly pointing heavenwards)

    What? Had I heard and seen correctly?

    Bear knew the song … and was now looking at me fingers together as if to construct a diamond patiently waiting for me to finish the song.

    Me:

    UP above the world so high (pointing up)

    Like a diamond in the sky (fingers forming a diamond shape)

    Twinkle….

    Bear:

    Wild clapping.

    He was now done with the song as he climbed off the bed to go find a car to crash.

    There so few words for the amazing amount of mommy pride I felt .

    I’m also quite ashamed at the 30 or so times I tried to get him to repeat his actions so I could record it.

    You would think by now I’d know toddlers never do what you want them too.