Juggling a newborn and a very active 2 1/2 year old toddler is certainly challenging. My biggest challenge is keeping the little fella amused whilst tending to baby matters.
The little fella has a very active imagination – our house is a menagerie of imaginary animals. You need to keep an eye out for everything from bees to elephants, dragons to stegosauruses (and the occasional green monster) in case you tread on a tale or disturb a sleeping creature in the closet. And believe me, the little fella will let you know if you do.
I don’t have as much time to crawl around playing matchbox cars at the moment (much to my relief), but I’ve taken his enthusiasm for imaginary games and run with it.
This week we’ve been going on bear hunts. I knocked up a pair of binoculars using two toilet rolls and some masking tape. Such a quick and simple toy but one that has been favoured all week.
We also made a ‘bear field guide’ for spotting bears, by printing out some bear images from the internet and stapling them into a little book. Dad’s hat, a backpack and a torch (for walking through the caves) means we’re all kitted out for our bear hunt.
Incidentally, no bears were harmed on our bear hunt – we were out for identification and conservation purposes only .
Trekking through jungles, swimming across lakes, stooping through caves and scaling mountains whilst looking out for bears and ticking them off in our field guide (I didn’t know there were so many types of bears in the world!) has entertained the little fella for hours this week with no financial outlay. I don’t need to do much except be present, play along and tip-toe through the occasional jungle, leaving my hands free to tend to the little lady (who graciously plays along as well).
Like anyone else, I succumb and buy new toys with the idea that they will keep the little fella happily amused. Aside from Duplo, which does get hours of use, no toy has been as well received or played with as long as simple (and free) props inviting him to imaginary play.
I’m always on the lookout for ideas. What’s your favourite imaginary play ideas and frugal props?
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.