On Friday, we did Day 4 of the 30 Days to Play Hands On Challenge. The challenge for that day was to make “islands” and pretend that there’s water and/or lava in between. It’s the kind of stuff that I’m pretty sure I did when I was a kid. But when it came to incorporating it into toddler play with Norton, we had a little difficulty. For one, I’m not really sure how to explain the concepts of islands to a kid with a toddler language delay. I’m never sure how much he understands, unless it’s me asking him to do something and he does it. So I tried to do something of the same idea for our toddler play, but without mentioning “islands.”
Norton has big pillow pet knock-offs on his floor in his room. He’s got a monkey and a giraffe, plus we’ve got an elephant that we bought before Norton was even thought of. We bought the elephant for the puppies to use as a dog bed. For a few minutes, Norton and I wrestled and rolled around on the animals… and then the short attention span that is trademark to toddlers set in. We left the nursery and came out to the living room while I tried to figure out something else for our toddler play adventure.
I bought Norton a toy percussion set by B. Toys (the B. Parum Pum Drum) for Christmas last year. It said 18 months, but I had friends online who played with the same toys with their children. Those children were about the same age as Norton (9 months at the time), so I bought it and put away the little maraca eggs that were choking hazards. Still, he was never interested. Until now.
For twenty minutes, Norton and I played with that percussion set. Sometimes he would shake the little egg maracas. Sometimes he’d play with the caterpillar tambourine or the ants in his pants bells. (Or, you know, eat them.) He’d use the drum sticks on the little drum. Sometimes, he’d decide to incorporate the Leap Frog Learn & Groove Musical Table he got for Christmas last year in the game. He’d push something on the table so that he could dance to the music.
All in all, it was good fun. We may not have done the challenge as intended, but considering the whole point of the challenge is to just get down there and play, we made something that worked for us. To me, that’s a victory in toddler play. We’ll take it.