Toddler Play

I feel like I’m always doing a dance, juggling my conflicting desires to be a mom who allows my children the oppotunity to explore, and living in a house with some order.

Allowing SweetP to play with water (inside, outside, anywhere really) is an example.  She would pour water all day long– preferably after she mixed it with sand and birdseed– if I’d let her.  But the mess makes me crazy.

Likewise, the kids are always wanting to pull stuff out of the recycling bin to invent stuff.  (As an aside, when I ask what the invention does, they usually say they don’t know.)  Then I’m left with a mess and some sort of machine that has to be recycled at a later date.  Or tools– they want to work with their tools, which is great until I find nails on the floor.

How do you handle the mess?  How do you encourage exploration?  How do you do it all?


4 thoughts on “Toddler Play

  1. The pouring….just do it and be prepared for the clean up, especially outside.
    The "inventing"….supervise and lead them in clean up, not just you.

  2. Today I bribed M and K with a movie – because I need some quite to write out plans. That did get the marble run tidied up quickly.

    Sometimes breaking the job up into small steps for them helps – B can do that for himself now with cleaning jobs, but it seemed to click about age 10, one week he couldn't do it, the next he could.

    At least Sweet P's bib/smock/apron looks stylish!


  3. The last time I let the children unihibitedly play in the sink, we had a random passerby come to our door to let us know that there was water leaking from our unit onto our neighbor's car (our kitchen is directly over the parking spaces for our building). Yeah. So that's out.

    Usually I'm okay with mess as long as it is one mess at a time, and it's all cleaned up before we do the next mess. Getting laminate floor in the dining room instead of carpet has helped me cultivate this attitude. 🙂

    But . . . mostly, I'm just waiting for summer, so the mess can be outside and not at the same time as school. 'Cause I can't do it all.

    Or at their grandparents' houses. Grandparents' houses are great places for mess.


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