Learning Through Play Date #1

I felt i had been focusing too much on big brother's learning needs and neglecting the little brother. Since his arrival, I mainly took care of little brother's immediate needs like bathing, feeding, changing etc and spent more time helping big brother while the little brother used to nap, then crawled around and now walking around us!

Little brother is 17 months old now and he had been growing so fast! I find it hard to do activities with him simply because whenever i have the time to be alone with him, that means big brother is at school and it's golden time to do household chores, bake, cook, boil water, check mails, blog or rest & relax! The chores keep calling out to me and i can't resist. 

Inspired by my Senior, Adeline Tan who blogs at Growing with the Tans, of what she did with her son Noah, I recently sent invitations to two other mums with children born in the same month as little brother, to ask them to join me in my vision of a planned weekly playgroup! It's like a home-learning co-op but the little ones are too young, I am not a "kiasu" mother, my intention is more of an organised meaningful learning-through-play dates for my younger son. :) It's not easy to find parents who can commit to this weekly, and able to meet me in the mornings where I don't have both brothers around :) Thank you Mommy Cloudy for agreeing to join me in this!

So finally! I had my dream of a real play date for my child come true! A play date that is meant for the children, not for the adults. ;p Mommy Cloudy and I were both new to this and do not exactly know where we are heading. But we had the first play date last Friday and I have to say, it's better than I thought it to be! 

Sharing with parents who are keen to know what we are doing and what we have did, we set aside an hour weekly for our Learning Through Play Dates. We agreed to commit to repeating this weekly and we will also follow the school holidays term breaks. ;p Currently, we are holding the play dates, alternating at each other houses. When the little ones grow older, we can have outdoor learning play dates too!

Sharing about our first Learning Through Play Date!

Theme: Senses - Touch      Topics: Hard and Soft
Audience: 2 seventeen months old toddlers, Rainy and Little Brother Kyne

Our Informal Lesson Plan flowed as followed:

1. Good Morning Song (yes, i sang!)

2. Exercise Time 

My version of exercise time means dancing, so I played the song Happy by Pharrell Williams, just because I knew Kyne love dancing to pop music! Haha, my bad! His friend, little Rainy, is totally new to the song and doesn't seem to like moving to it either. We shall look into more kiddy songs that every baby will love!

3. Videos on senses (Links here and here)

Before you go in "what! so serious! need to show documentary ah!" I only went to hunt for two kiddy songs that sings about senses! Just click the links above for the videos i used!
4. Sensory Bin on Soft Objects

we introduced items that are soft: teddy bears and pillows and it's quite amusing to see Little Brother and Rainy taking turns to throw them at each other!

Next, they were introduced to the Soft Sensory bin which consists of tissues, cotton pads, sponges, ribbon and small dolls

we can really tell when they had enough of the sensory bin! So, we take the cues and moved on to let them try to touch and handle play dough for their first time. Rainy is reluctant to touch the play dough at all and little brother took a piece and offered to her to play. 

like his elder brother, this little brother seems to like play dough too!

5. Sensory Bin on Hard Objects

We started off by introducing them to a few hard objects like board books, a box, a bowl etc. They were not too keen and couldn't wait for us to remove the lid the sensory box ASAP. ;p

The babies were more excited about the sensory bin of hard objects! It feels better on their little hands and it makes sounds when knocked together! Items in the bin: assortment of bottle caps, bowls, kiddy set cooking utensils, magnetic alphabets. Both Little Brother and Rainy love scooping the bottle caps with the disposable spoons i gave them!

When they showed that they were done with the above bin, I introduced them to the second one, which is a boxful of macaroni! They were also very excited playing, scrooping and in the end we realised that Rainy loves pouring out sensory bin items! Both took turns stepping on macaroni and we also asked them to help putting back the macaroni into the bin. Needless to say, Rainy poured them out again and again! :D 

6. Painting with sponges
The little ones have their first try at sponge printing with colours Blue and Red. Rainy was able to dap, and then she also started dragging the sponge across the paper! On the other hand, Little Brother doesn't like the touch of sponge at all. So i gave him a disposable spoon to paint. He doesn't really like this activity though, he seems to only like to join in whenever his Big Brother is painting!

7. Free Play Time!

When we washed and cleaned up Little Brother and Rainy, I let them into the playroom to play all they want, while i cleared up all the materials used earlier. The free play is good because it allows me to see how Kyne plays with children his age vs playing with his Big Brother. It's interesting to note that while Rainy wants to play whatever he was playing at the moment, he cries out loud frustratedly instead of fighting for his toys! I think he is too used to losing to his Big Brother and he learnt to cry very loudly for adult's intermediation. -_-||

I really love what we did! Previously, I had always felt that play dates are a waste of time for myself, as i have a dozen chores calling out to me and usually, during play dates, the adults are eating and chatting while the children play on their own. So I won't be able to clear my tasks of the day or spend quality time with the children during this time. 

But an organised Learning through Play date is different! 
  • Compared to doing meaningful play activities with child alone, having another mommy & child around, actually spiced things up a lot! We were really able to focus solely on the playing and ignore the chores, emails, mobile messages etc!
  • Parents are able to focus on the playing and not be affected when the little ones mess things up. I know it sounds wrong, but I myself have my fair share of the days when i was very tired, I would have shouted at my sons for messing the home and i will keep everything and forbid them to continue their plays! It's not the children doing anything wrong! It's me losing it!
  • It provides a very good opportunity to see how the little children observe, respond, interact with adults and peers, and how they learn.
  • Parents become hands on. We started reading up all over again to learn new things. Our stagnant brain cells got challenge to think out of the box, so yeah! I can exercise my rusty brain! 
  • Most importantly, though we have a rough plan of what we will be doing with the little ones, we actually allowed the babies to explore on their own and lead us on! 
We are having another Learning Through Play Date this week! I am actually looking forward to it!

If you have ideas on what we can do with young toddlers, we welcome all recommendations or suggestions too!

If you enjoy reading this post, please like me on my Facebook Page as it's where i connect with my readers. I will be very delighted if you can also add me on my newly set up social media accounts - InstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Popular Posts

Home Renovation Part 1: Light Up a Home

The Solution for Wifi Coverage Issue in the New Homes Layout

The Childrens' First TCM Visit

Keeping The Car Really Clean and Pest Free

Confinement meals

9d8n Taiwan in Pictures (Day 1) Spendtime Hotspring Stay

Okinawa Travel: Accommodations

Review: D'Elegance Shapewear

Mamirobot Took Over My Household!

Protect-a-Bed Mattress Protector