Monday, July 2, 2012

Parents Talk - Meet Jane from MamaPeaPod

We're bringing back another feature on this blog - interviewing influental bloggers who also happen to be parents and many of them are real life educators, who share with us their best parenting tips for toddlers and preschoolers. This week we have prepared interview with Jane from MamaPeaPod.

Introduce Mama Pea Pod in few words:

I am a mother of two girls aged 5 and 2, a teacher, and an endorser of playtime. I want to savour the time I have with my little peas by playingcreating, and getting outdoors with them. Mama Pea Pod is where I blog about creative play ideas mainly for preschoolers and toddlers, but there's also a bit of creative play for babies and mamas, too. 

Toddler and Preschooler - 2 years apart is a big difference at this age. How to pick activities that will engage them both?: 

My girls are nearly 3 years apart. For the most part, this has been relatively easy for me, since my little one wants to do whatever the bigger one is doing, too. So we usually do our activities all together. If it's something that is not age-appropriate for the little one, I set up a modified version for her. For example, this morning my 5 year old and I were playing with symmetry by challenging each other to copy exactly a structure out of blocks. Of course, the little one wanted to keep knocking them down. So we set up her own structure next to ours that she could build and knock down to her heart's content. 
Most of our art play is process-based, so they can both freely explore as they wish. If we're doing a special piece of artwork with a particular product in mind, like our mermaid painting to decorate for a mermaid party, I made sure to include the little one as much as possible by helping her to make a mermaid, too, but also had separate paper and a paint tray set up for her, so that she could paint freely on that as well and not upset her sister by 'ruining' the mermaid painting.

Recommend few essentials / boredom busters to always have in your bag where ever you go:

I'm terrible at this! My kids are actually really easy to entertain, they can turn anything into a game. They will spend half an hour at the dinner table or in the bathroom making their forks or toothbrushes talk to each other and creating elaborate imaginary play from that. Even without any props, they'll use their fingers as 'people'. So I actually rarely carry anything for them in my bag for a regular outing, except occasionally some figurines if I expect a long waiting time. I generally prefer toys that are open-ended and likely to spark creative play. I have some creative toys ideas here. For travel, I always pack way more than I anticipate using, as you never know what will interest them at the particular moment you need them to be engaged. I have a post of travel toy suggestions here.

Ideas for 5 hands-on play mediums for outdoor play:

I am a huge believer in the importance of outdoor play (I cohost a biweekly Outdoor Play Party where you can link up any outdoor play ideas you may like to share). Some things we love to do outdoors are play with ride-on toys (bikes/motos/cars, etc.); play with bubbles; explore and engage with nature (even in our own back garden); do art outdoors; and play with water. Also, my girls are currently really into playing games that involve running and/or chasing, like this leaf islands game or this coloured eggs game.

5 tips for teaching toddlers and preschoolers etiquette. And is it really necessary at this age?:

Etiquette....hmmm, I think it's important that my children are polite and kind to others and that they make others welcome in their play. My oldest is very sociable, so this isn't really a problem. I used baby signing with them both, and 'please' and 'thank you' were some of their earliest signs, so they've learned from a very young age to use those words in their interactions with others and they became a natural part of their communication early on. Mostly I teach them politeness by modeling it in my interactions with them. I really think modelling is far more powerful than reminders. I recently read somewhere that you shouldn't make your child say thank you or sorry to others, instead you should say it on their behalf as a way to model, and eventually they will start doing it, too. I think that's a good tip, and I'm making an effort to stop reminding them to say it and to just model it instead.

Thank you for answering questions for us Jane! It's always a pleasure to read your blog! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me over, Michelle! And by the way, I just realized that I *do* have a toy in my bag that has come in very handy - a tub of glitter silly putty! Oh, the hours of amusement that come from that!


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