can you play with me, mama?

If I got a dollar for every time I was asked, “Can you play with me, Mama?” by a certain 2 year old, I would be one very rich lady.

Trying to gather some activity inspiration, especially for those times when I am physically bound up with the baby or just exhausted, I asked some of my mama friends yesterday what types of activities they are doing at home with their toddlers. I wondered if I should be doing more beyond the endless books, puzzles, pasting and drawing to entertain her and provide her with structured things to do. We were TV-free until she was about 2, which was a lot easier when there was only one kid! Now we watch a bit of telly, often just so I can have a rest, but I hate relying on it too much.

Turns out, the other girls seem to be doing much the same as me, with the main structured activities including drawing, books and so on, but, like us, it’s the incidental things that happen in day to day life at home providing the most entertainment – folding the washing, helping to wipe down surfaces, feeding the dogs and the bunny, sweeping with the dustpan and brush while mummy has the broom, and so on.

I love the independence of the toddler age, it’s so great to slowly watch the big girl become more able to do things on her own, to have conversations (albeit repeated many times over: “Mama, can you play with me? Can you play with me, Mama? Mama, Mummy, Mum, can you play with me? Can you play with me at home Mum? Can we play Mummy?”), to understand instructions, to be able to help out a bit with little things and enjoy it – like going to get a face washer, or helping change the baby’s nappy. It’s easy to feel inadequate though when reading blogs and seeing amazing craft activities and so on that some amazing parents are doing with their kids. When it takes half an hour to set up an activity for five minutes worth of concentration, it is pretty hard to conjure up the motivation!

I try to have a few special things for her to do while I’m breastfeeding. Often she’ll just climb up next to me and pretend to breastfeed one of her teddies or dolls. This afternoon she crammed herself up as close as she could get to me while I was feeding, saying, “I’m just giving you some space Mummy.” Thanks for that! Other than trying to get as close to me as she possibly can, she has a sticker book, special crayons and textas, marbles and a few other things that come out of the hat at baby snack time.

What do you do at home with your little kids?