This is a question that I get a lot. The simplest answer is one that is apparent to anyone who visits our house. I don’t clean. Joking (I can pretend I am joking but the dust and the dog hair doesn’t lie) aside, it is tough to find time to sew with two little ones at home. Since the youngest has gotten mobile, I pretty much have to save sewing for his nap times. One incident with me distractedly operating my embroidery machine and putting the needle in my finger taught me that I really can’t watch him and operate these machines! But his big sister can be entertained at times and can generally be trusted not to destroy things or hurt herself badly if I take my eyes off of her for a second.
I will admit that I am not a perfect mother and Annabelle has seen a tv show or two in her lifetime. But I do try and limit her exposure to PBS kids and I want her to be able to entertain herself independently from time to time. One of the best tools I have found for this is “the box.” It was started as a sensory box but I found out quickly that my daughter is not entertained for long if all she can do is scoop and pour. But add a few characters of any sort in there and A will entertain herself almost indefinitely making up stories and playing pretend. Our rules have always been simple. Keep everything on the rug and put nothing in your mouth. We have a small rug that she unfolds each time she uses her box and by keeping everything on it we keep most of the choking hazards up when the baby is awake.
For this to work, the box has to change periodically. It is pretty simple to do this in the fall.
We had a Halloween box:
This included popcorn and blackbeans, Halloween erasers, googly eyes, pom poms and pipe cleaners in Halloween colors, and lots of spider rings. Here she is using her counting mats with it! I was way excited to see her get interested in these.
Then in November we got out the Thanksgiving box supplies. We kept the corn and beans, and added farm animals from a tube, cardboard Pilgrims and Native Americans I picked up on clearance at Michael’s one time, leaves and acorn table scatter from the Target Dollar Spot, and some apple confetti that also came from a clearance bin.
Now these are out of season so one of the first cards in our Advent Calendar will be to put away the Thanksgiving box and pull out the Christmas box instead. Here is the filling waiting in a ziplock from last year.
This time the corn and beans will be packed up. The box will hold tinsel, jingle bells, sparkly table scatter, Christmas character erasers and cupcake toppers from the dollar store, (the cupcake toppers had little sticks and worked great as puppets last year) and some red and green pom poms. I can’t wait to see what she makes of it this year!
So this is what we are up to this week. Hopefully she will be so busy playing that I will get lots of time to sew. And if you come over to visit, please ignore the mess. Cleaning is not happening!
Do you have any tricks for keeping preschoolers playing so you can get things done? Suggestions are always appreciated.