Updated: Dec 6, 2019
As Christmas rapidly approaches, we are all madly trying to pack a million and one things in to our days; shopping for presents, preparing food, attending Christmas parties, sorting out the house, decorating the tree, planning trips to see family .......
In the midst of all this festive chaos, our little people often seem to be craving attention even more than usual! As the house is full of new smells, strange packages, visitors and, for some reason , a tree (why? they ask) it can all be a little overwhelming and so a bit of calm one to one play is just the thing to reassure them that all is well in the world, despite how it may appear to them! So, if you feel in need of a few ideas to spend some quality time with your little one over the festive period, here are a few of our favourite activities for you to try:
1. Sparkly Sensory Tray
If you haven't got one of these trays, which, let's face it, are not really traditional toddler toys, they are brilliant for all sorts of sensory play and can be found online for under £20 (just search for builder's tray). Whilst we were decorating the tree we added a few strands of tinsel and then raided the kitchen cupboard for silver, shiny bit and pieces to explore (always thinking about safety such as sharp edges and choke hazards). Grouping together items which have something in common (in this case, shiny) helps little ones to make judgements about similarities and difference without being over-complex. It also looks very tempting!
We arranged the items in a way that would provoke interest by, for example, lining up some spoons to suggest pattern and adding a ladle to a colander to encourage exploring sounds. Our little one was straight in there, swishing, banging and experimenting with putting objects in and out of each other and spent a good chunk of time playing and being totally absorbed. Exploring materials like this in an open-ended activity helps little ones to explore with confidence, express their own interests and discover the shape, texture and size of different objects and how they can work together.
This activity literally took seconds to set up and provided interest long enough to get the tree balanced in its bucket - why does that always take so long?!! - and add most of the decorations. Winner all round!