{Toddler Chores for Little Helpers}



toddler chores for little helpers

Toddler Chores for Little Helpers:

Household Jobs Your Toddler Can Help With

 

Toddlers love to help out around the house, have you noticed? While their 'help' isn't always quite that, there are lots of household tasks that toddlers can do that are, at least, not unhelpful ;-) And doing 'big person jobs' always gives them such a sense of pride and boost of confidence! As Sweet Pea often says, 'I a Big Girl now!'

We're making a 'chores' system around our house for the girls. (I'm using the word 'chores' very loosely! Obviously, I'm not enforcing Cinderella practices around our home!) Princess Pea (aged 5) is certainly at an age when she can and should have some responsibilities at home. Aside from teaching her a sense of responsibility, having 'jobs' teaches her practical life skills, gross and fine motor skills, problem-solving and pre-mathematical skills, and - perhaps most importantly - reminds her that she is part of a family whose members help each other out. Having responsibilities around the house teaches her that it's important not only to do things for herself, but to do things for the 'greater good' of the family as a whole. 

I'll be writing more about our chore system and the jobs that she has in another post. But, of course, everything that big sister is doing, little sister wants to do, too. So I've been trying to come up with ideas of 'jobs' that 2 year old Sweet Pea can do - preferably ones that don't end up just making more work for me, as toddler 'help' is prone to do!

Thinking back to when Princess Pea was her age, here are some of the things she liked to help out with around the house that were actually helpful to some extent. 

little kids help in the kitchen - stirring
Stirring the pancake batter

Stirring anything is always fun for toddlers and preschoolers - let them help with select food preparation that involves stirring (of course, use common sense regarding which items are suitable for your toddler to help stir - you may not want them stirring anything hot; raw eggs, etc.). 'Stirring' the knob on the salad spinner [affiliate link] is another favourite kitchen job in our house.

toddlers help pick things in the garden
Picking the cherries from the garden tree

Toddlers love to pick things in the garden - anything from fruit, to vegetables, to herbs, to weeds -- you just have to show them which ones they can pick, and which ones they can't. They also love watering - consider making them one of these DIY watering cans to help them avoid drowning your flowers, or get them a cute kid watering can [affiliate link] of their very own.

toddler help sweep vacuum dusting
Sweeping the balcony

Sweeping, vacuuming, dusting - any kind of cleaning that doesn't involve cleaning products can be done by a toddler. Ok, so you'll almost certainly still have to do it again yourself afterwards, but at least they're probably not creating more dirt while helping - and it keeps them occupied alongside you while you work.

toddlers help sort laundry
Sorting the laundry

Toddlers can actually be quite helpful with the laundry. Matching socks, sorting clean laundry into piles according to who it belongs to, handing you items to hang, passing clothes pegs [affiliate link] - my two love all kinds of laundry tasks (they even engage in imaginary laundry play)! And it's one of the most educational 'chores' they can have, what with all the sorting and categorizing, and colours to discuss, etc. Matching and lining up shoes is another great clothes-related toddler job.

And, of course, there's always 'invented tasks'. These can come in handy when you don't really want them to help, but they're insisting. I must admit, I'm not above making up 'really important jobs' now and then, like "Here, you stir the cup of water and I'll stir the cup of coffee". Sometimes it's just easier to let them help with a fake job.


*One tip - As much as toddlers love to help with grown-up tasks, I've found that's it's never a good idea to inadvertantly tell a toddler that you *need* them to help with something. True to their toddler sensibilities, this always seems to be a surefire way to garner a negative response!

*Finally, I think this is obvious, but just in case - toddlers and preschoolers should always be supervised in any activity!

What sorts of tasks do your toddlers like to 'help' with?


The Happy Housewife has a great printable list of age-appropriate household 'chores' that kids of all ages can help out with.

Looking for tasks a preschooler can do? Check out this list of 10 household jobs suitable for preschoolers from Housekeeping.org

You can find more suggestions for letting your toddler 'help' at home (with a bit of humour - which you'll need if you are letting your toddler do housework!) at Glittering Muffins: 12 Ways to Include Your Toddler in Everyday House Work.


If this is your first time visiting Mama Pea Pod - welcome! Please use the buttons and labels on the right and below to take a look around, and I'd love for you to come join us over on the Mama Pea Pod Facebook community. There you'll find lots more parenting, kids' craft, and play ideas shared daily. If you like what you see here, please consider subscribing to receive weekly email updates on new posts.



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{Party On - Outdoors!}

Sweet Pea's First Pony Ride

I'm being a party pooper this week and taking the week off for a summer vacation. Head on over to one of my fine cohosts to link up your Outdoor Play posts and to check out all the fun that everyone else is having!

Enjoy, and catch you next time!

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{Bathing Dolls - Outdoor Water Play}



simple water play - bathing dolls

Simple Water Play: Bathing Dolls


A couple of weeks ago I was sitting out on the deck enjoying the hot sun, browsing on Facebook, and listening to the kids play in the garden. Just as the playing started to turn into fighting, I hit on this Baby Bath Station post by Happy Hooligans. Perfect! I used to love doing this as a child!



simple water play - doll bath time

We don't have a doll bath [affiliate link], but no problem! I immediately jumped up, ran down to the cellar to pull out the old baby bath and infant bath seat [affiliate link], grabbed some old towels and shampoo bottles, the baby bath thermometer, [affiliate link] and a few bath toys [affiliate link].



simple water play - girls washing dolls

I got the hose and filled up the baby bath. The whole set-up took about 5 minutes, and the girls had so much fun bathing their babies for the rest of the afternoon!



simple water play - bathing dolls - towel dry

Next up: Doll laundry!


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Outside Water Play Blog Hop brought to you by JDaniel4sMom, Rainy Day Mum, Two Big Two Little, Inspiration LaboratoriesTrain Up a Child, and yours truly, Mama Pea Pod. 



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{Nurturing Creativity - The Key To Success}


As many of you may know, the transition to 'big kid school' is on our doorstep, and I continually question what is the best path for Princess Pea - which is the best school option for her? She is so full of wonder and creative spiritand I've been very conscious of nurturing that spirit in everything we do. I want her to be in an environment that will help her to grow her creativity, not 'teach it out of her'.


As an EAL teacher, I hear the concerns of many parents who are new to our school and want to know that it's the best school for their children. I reassure them that our school upholds high academic standards, that their children are learning and growing, that each child receives the attention and support needed to achieve and succeed.

For me as a parent, however, it's not a question of academic standards. It's a question of developing creativity. Will she be encouraged to think independently? To experiment? To play? To explore? To create? Will she be taught how to inquire and problem-solve and develop new, creative solutions? For me, it's not math or reading or academic standards that are all-important. For me, creativity is the key to success - success in every aspect of life. 



At a recent open question period for prospective school administrators, I asked one of the candidates what one thing they believed was the most important thing for students to be able to do by the end of their time at our school. He responded 'read well', with the argument that the children who are good readers will be able to learn the most, and will therefore be the successful leaders of the future. Sorry, but that's the wrong answer in my books. Successful leaders aren't born out of good reading skills. Successful leaders are born out of creative thinking. Good readers will be good at learning about other people's ideas. Creative thinkers will be good at generating their own ideas.




With this mindset, I was thrilled to hear about the new ebook by Jillian Riley of A Mom With A Lesson Plan, titled Raising a Creative Kid: Simple Strategies for Igniting and Nurturing That Creative Spark. Jillian's argument is that everyone has the ability to be a creative thinker, if only we encourage and nurture that natural, creative spark. I completely agree, and as both a teacher and a parent, I strive every day to help children develop their creativity so that creative thinking becomes a skill that will lead them to success throughout their lives.



I have been lucky enough to get an advance copy of this inspiring ebook and to have had the opportunity to ask Jillian a few questions about how I can raise my own kids to be creative. Here's what she had to say:

1. As a parent and as a teacher, how can I help my children to develop their creativity?


There are so many of ways to foster creativity in our kids. The number one way (and perhaps the hardest to accomplish) is to get out of the way. Letting kids make their own creative decisions lets them see the full result of their actions, while growing their confidence to try new things. 



2. Our big 'home project' this summer is to set up our Project Room - a room for art and creative projects as well as a learning space for our 5 year old. Can you give me any tips on how to do this?


Absolutely! Our art center has grown over the past couple of years and now takes up half the play room. M and M wouldn't have it any other way. The more accessible creative materials are the easier it is for art and projects to become part of their everyday. Having the ability to make a raft out of craft sticks because your lion needs to cross the raging river you have built out of blocks is INCREDIBLE. There is no end to the imaginative play you can experience when you can create what you need, when you need it. Some suggestions:

  • Keep materials accessible so that your kids can easily see and reach what they need.
  • Use recycled materials like egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, wrapping paper, birthday cards, etc.
  • Keep the area organized. This will avoid the overwhelming feeling too much stuff can cause.
  • Use a kid sized art table or art mats, so they are not worried about the "mess".



3. As a parent, what should I be looking for in a school that I hope will nurture my child's creativity instead of squashing it?


That's a hard one. When Big M started Kindergarten we found that his teacher (who I adore) had very different views on creating than we do. She likes nice, neat and proper. I like "here are some materials, let's see what you can do". The interesting thing was, he flourished. The two styles meeting seemed to bring him to a new level. 

While I would encourage you to find a school where worksheets and identical art are rare... there is something to be said for following directions once in a while. Have confidence in what you've brought to your little one and make sure creativity is a priority at home. If you encounter a problem, you can help your little one find a creative solution.

* Wow, Jillian, this is a light-bulb moment for me! THANK YOU! That makes perfect sense - balance!


4. How can I help my daughter get past her need for perfection and learn to appreciate her own efforts in the process along the path to creativity?

Very good question! I would bet you are not the only parent who struggles with this. In Raising a Creative Kid I talk a lot about the importance of mistakes. For kids who are driven to be perfect, accepting mistakes is probably the most important gift you can give them. Teaching her how to dissect each mistake and learn from it will help in all areas of her life. A big tip would be to model the behavior. Create something that is less than perfect and provide a running commentary on how you will improve on it next time. Be upbeat and point out all the ways this will help you in the future. 


These are great tips, Jillian, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!




To get your own copy of Raising a Creative Kid, click on the image above to place your order!

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Mama Pea Pod is super excited to be an affiliate for Raising a Creative Kid! If you are interested in buying this book, I'd love for you to click through the link above to do so. By using this particular link, I will get a commission on the sale. Thank you!

{Outdoor Play Party: Lying in the Grass}



You know those moments you get sometimes as a parent, when your child does something that makes  you feel so proud your heart could burst? Well, I must tell you that when my 2 year old spontaneously went out recently and lay down by herself on the grass, just laid there, simply enjoying the feel of it, I had one of those moments! My daughter was just purely enjoying nature - the feel of it, the sound of it, the smell of it - enjoying it with all her senses! I can't tell you how happy it made me to see that - my little girl appreciating the natural world, without any prompting or toys or activities to entice her. Just the soft, green grass calling to her made her run out there and lay her whole body down on it to experience it.



Pinky Cat got to go out and enjoy it, too.



Otherwise, she was all alone, just peacefully taking in the world around her.


What else can you do while lying in the grass?

See what kinds of bugs or other life you can find hidden in the grass.
Mark off a small patch no bigger than the size of your palm and use a magnifying glass to try to count the blades of grass in that patch. Can you count them?
See if you can find other types of plants hidden among the grass - can you find daisies? Dandelions? Clovers?
Search for 4-leafed clover leaves.
Feel the grass on your skin and try to describe it - is it soft? Spiky? Dry? Damp?
Lay on the grass and watch the clouds go by - can you see any shapes in them?

The last Outdoor Play Party included 41 ideas for playing outdoors. Many of them also involved exploring the natural world. Below are a few of my favourite nature exploration posts that were linked up. If you were one of them, go ahead and grab yourself a 'featured' button from the sidebar.


Hunting and examining bugs in the garden
Rainy Day Mum shared her post about going on a bug hunt in their garden.


At Pre-School Play, the children used mud and found nature items to create some International Mud Day artwork.

And the Children's Art Group used items from nature to create these nature prints in clay.


For further details about this linky party, see here.

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{Playing With Symmetry: I'm Guest Posting}



I'm excited to tell you that today I'm guest posting for my friend Bern over at Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas about some fun and educational pre-math play that we've been enjoying lately. Come on over to say hi and see how we're playing with symmetry!




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{Interview at Best Toys for Toddlers}

Today you can find me in the hot seat over at Best Toys for Toddlers! Come by and say hello!




Best toys for toddlers

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{Time for Mama: Meditation Matchboxes}


Meditation Matchboxes

Guestpost by Amy of Mama Scout


Hi! I am Amy from Mama Scout and I am thrilled to share a simple but magical project that will delight both kids and mamas. As a homeschooling mom, I often finding myself making things along side my children. And sometimes those projects turn into something I love just as much (or more than) they do. As soon as we started making these tiny treasure boxes, I knew this was an activity I would return to again on my own.  



All my children love tiny things. One morning, my son spent time making tiny scrolls and putting them in empty match boxes. Everyone was so charmed with this idea; we could not stop talking about all the things we could do with the concept.


We thought about turning the little boxes into birthday invitations, poetry boxes, wish boxes, and treasure hunt directions. We thought it would be fun to mail them, leave them on our friends' porches, or in random public places (that one I want to do soon!).

We simply used emptied matchboxes that we painted black. You might also cover them with decorative paper, or paint them another color or even leave them as they are.


That morning we also made beeswax bottle cap candles and quickly thought it would be great to add a candle to the boxes and turn them into  tiny meditation boxes. For mine, I wrote a meaningful quote and tied up my scroll with three matches. Tucking it into the match box, I thought what a sweet little gift this would make for anyone going through a tough time. 

How about a new mama?

A recent graduate?

Someone who has met sudden sadness or is facing a big change?


The candle idea was inspired by Craftaholics Anonymous. She uses crayons, which is super cool, but for this application I really like the beeswax. Even from this small candle, it smells amazing. We keep our beeswax in a tin can and remelt it in a water bath for different projects. Super simple.


Thanks, Amy, these are just adorable and a lovely contribution to our Time For Mama: Creative Playtime for Moms series! What a lovely surprise gift they would make! Be sure to check out more of Amy's creative ideas for mamas and kids over at Mama Scout



The Time for Mama series features a monthly guest post aimed at moms looking for a way to unwind through creative pursuits. Check out the other posts in the series by following the link below. 





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