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Thursday, September 10, 2015

BFBN: Toddler Table Time

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! We are a team of Babywise Bloggers whose goal is to support each other and Babywise Friendly Blogs. Today I'm guest blogging over on Wiley Adventures  and today Stephanie from Giving It Grace is guest posting here. Stephanie is discussing toddler table time which is GREAT timing for me as I'm now in the land of all things toddler!


Part of my weekly routine with my 2-year-old is a set time a few days a week that we sit down at his kids' table and do table time. This idea of parent-led activity time is a suggestion from On Becoming Toddlerwise; the main idea being that mom picks the activity and the duration. During the week I aim to do this two mornings for 30 minutes each morning (I used to aim for 3 mornings a week but now we have a newborn so I had to be more realistic about my bandwidth during this season). On the mornings we do table time it happens directly after his independent playtime in his crib (around 9AM). That way he's fresh off of some alone time and ready to interact with mom.

I have 3 goals for table time:
1) teach him how to focus on one activity for a duration of time
2) teach him how to enjoy and explore whatever it is we are playing with
3) work in some teaching moments along the way. 

For that last goal I try to pick one piece of information each week and emphasize that during table time. One week it was the color blue so I emphasized the blue crayon, the blue button, the blue car, etc. Another week is was recognizing numbers (as opposed to letters). It's always so rewarding when something I've taught him during table time comes up later in the day!

We have a bookshelf in our living room that houses the bins that contain all of the art supplies and activities for table time. Mom picks the first activity and then he gets to pick the second one. As for him picking which art project or activity to do: I took a picture of each activity and created a one-sheet "catalog" for him to choose from. He likes to hold the sheet and look at each option before proudly pointing to the picture of his activity choice. This method saves me the headache of lifting him up and letting him look into each bin and then taking forever to choose his activity.

Below are his current favorites. You can find many of these products/similar products in my Amazon Store if you want to try some at home with your toddler.



{ 1 } This Button Art activity helps with fine motor skills. When he's better at colors we will work on matching the correct button to the correct color hole.
{ 2 } Play-Doh is great for imaginative play and fine motor skills. Plus it's still fun to play with as an adult!
{ 3 } We have a set of matching cards we got at the local Dollar Store. Right now we work on "same" and "different" when playing with the cards.
{ 4 } I'm using jigsaw puzzles to work on his problem solving skills. I usually put the corner pieces in and then help him figure out how to place the rest of the pieces. For example, "See this piece? It has yellow on it. Where else do you see yellow?", and then helping him connect the two pieces with yellow on them. The Melissa and Doug puzzles that make noise when all the pieces are placed correctly are neat.
{ 5 } Before baby came I stayed up late one night and made Drew these felt scenes. I used felt, scissors, and felt glue to create the scenes and the parts to each scene. This activity is good for imaginative play and story-telling.

I'll be the first to admit that table time can be bor-ing for me at times. I do love watching the wheels turn in my toddler's head, or watching his tiny fingers place stickers, or how he loves to show me all his creations...but also there are only so many times a grown woman can "do markers" before she wants to dump them all in the toilet (and that woman would be me!). So a few weeks ago we skipped table time completely for the whole week; I needed a break from it. I'm revealing this because not everything goes according to the schedule all the time around here and everyone (including me) still survives. Schedules are meant to serve you, not the other way around! The next week we resumed table time, and the markers lived to see another day...

Moms of toddlers...any activities your toddler loves that we should try for table time? I'm always looking for new ideas!

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