Kids are so fascinating to watch. They are extremely uninhibited, determined, inquisitive, and earnest. Our job is to let them do things that will help them to stay that way without hurting themselves. For example, as I am sitting here at the desk, my young daughter is tipping back and forth on a footstool testing out the properties of gravity and practicing her balance. Each time she tips too far, the stool scoots out from under her and she plops down on the floor. Then she sets the stool up straight, and gets situated to try it again. This is very serious business.
Now, I could run over and help her tip the stool just enough so that she doesn't fall. Or I could take the stool away and give her some safe toy to play with. Don't get me wrong, she's not in any mortal danger here, but sometimes we need to just sit and watch our children and learn from them, instead of pushing them to learn from us. My little daughter will stay inquisitive until someone tells her to quit asking why. She will stay uninhibited until someone laughs at her. She will stay determined until someone tells her she is going to fail. So take a minute, put down the mop, forget the peanut butter on the windows, ignore that grimy high chair, and learn something from the amazing child sitting in it.
• Take a pretend kayak trip with wooden spoons or broomsticks for oars and a narrow blankets to kneel on for a kayak. Talk about what things you would or wouldn't see as you kayak. Have them share their ideas.
• Gather several household objects and have the children decide which of the objects belong in the kitchen. Then discuss what each kitchen item is used for. Use some of the objects to make your snack for the day.
• Make fruit or snack kabobs. While you are putting them together, have the children think of other foods you could put on a kabob. (Some fun things to try are raisins, marshmallows, cooked macaroni or pasta, olives, and chewy candy). Using their ideas, and whatever else you can dream up, have only kabob snacks for a few days and then have them each decide on their favorites.
• Make giant "kisses" out of a Rice Crispy Treats recipe, then give them to someone special.