As much as I love hanging out with Elle the 3 footer, sometimes I need a few quiet moments to myself. Whether it’s to make dinner, do laundry, go to the bathroom by myself, upload a picture to Instagram…all these little alone moments keeps me sane.
To get these snippets of alone time, one of the best ways I’ve found is to occupy the kids with something fun.
An invitation to play is simply setting up something really simple for your children to engage with and create something with no boundaries. They are free to do as they wish with the materials given.
In this simple invitation to play, I set out a tray of ‘stuff’ for Elle to put on a stick.
I went through our craft cabinet and pulled out anything I can find with holes in it. I gathered 2 bowls of pastas in different shapes that we dyed recently, some wooden beads, some small plastic beads and some caps from those squeezable baby/kid puree in a bag (is there an actual name for these?).
For the ‘sticks’, I gave her some bamboo skewers and a handful of left over match sticks we got from our monthly subscription craft crate. If you have smaller children, you could use spaghetti to replace the bamboo skewers…it’s probably a lot safer =)
We used a piece of styrofoam for the base from a recent furniture purchase. If you don’t have styrofoam, a ball of playdough works great too.
After everything is set up, I called the 3 footer over and showed her what to do. I took a match stick from the tray, stuck it in the styrofoam and put a bead on it.
After that, she copied what I did and played by herself while I prepared dinner. She was quiet for about 15 minutes….even 15 minutes is sometimes enough =)
Even though I put out a variety of materials for her to play with, she only wanted the pasta and the small beads. To encourage her to use the other materials, I put a skewer down and made a tower with the wooden beads and plastic caps. She wanted nothing to do with those and removed my tower. Sometimes kids are just like that (or maybe it’s just my kid?). Since this is free play, I just let her do as she wished.
If you like this idea and what to use pasta as well, here is a great post on how to dye pasta with some tips and tricks to help you dye it perfectly every time =)