1. Making a Game out of Cleaning -- My daughter is only 1, so it can be difficult to get her to understand cleaning up! I try to make a game out of cleaning her room by asking her to throw blocks into their plastic bags, toys into her toy basket, etc. I even try to get her to help me wash and dry the clothes by letting her help me move them from the washer to the dryer. She thinks it's lots of fun, and she is learning to clean in the process!
2. Brushing Her Teeth -- Because Mommy and Daddy do it, my daughter thinks brushing her teeth is super fun now! We give her her own toothbrush with her own toothpaste, and we all brush our teeth together. We even try to teach her how to put some water in her mouth and spit. Even though this is a basic daily activity, she thinks it is play time because we smile, laugh and enjoy it!
3. Music for Lunch -- My daughter LOVES music, so I turn on my iPod while I am getting lunch together and she dances with me while I'm getting it ready. This helps her be patient when she's really hungry and it helps me enjoy getting her lunch together!
4. Shopping for Fun -- I will admit that going shopping with a one-year old is NOT the most fun thing I've ever done...and that's putting it mildly. I've started bringing snacks with me, and I'll try to give her items that she can't break that she learns to play with while we are walking around. She will move them from one side of the cart to the other (doing her shopping, I guess), and we'll play games where she'll give them to me and I'll give them back. This works MUCH better than just expecting her to sit there while I shop!
5. Bathtime is the best time -- Of all the things that my daughter enjoys, I do believe that bath time might just be her favorite! I think this is the easiest normal activity to make fun because most kids love water so much. I give her her own toys, but we also frequently give her baths in the sink and let her play with some of the scrubby brushes (that we don't use on anything that she shouldn't put in her mouth!) and soap dispensers. She thinks it is great to play with the things that she sees me using every day to clean the dishes and countertops, and it's a safe, fun way to keep her sitting down so we can bathe her!
6. Clipping Coupons -- No, I don't let my lady play with scissors, but I do have some "fake" coupons that I let her play with while I am clipping mine. This keeps her busy while I am getting my coupons organized, and she thinks she is doing the same thing I am. She likes to put the coupons in and out of my purse like she sees me doing, and she has a really fun time with this one. This also works with fake credit cards! I use old cards I get in the mail and she takes them in and out of a wallet that I have in my purse just for her!
7. Folding the Clothes -- My daughter loves folding the clothes with me, and even though it takes me ten times as long to get it done, it's still so much fun to fold them together. She'll sit on the floor with me when I take the clothes out of the dryer, and I give her some of her own to fold. My favorite part is that she will whip the clothes up and down in the air like she sees me doing. I didn't even realize I did that to get some of the wrinkles out until I saw her doing it :) I do have to put the clothes I'm finished folding in a place where she can't reach so they don't end up unfolded, but we have so much fun doing them together that it's worth the extra little steps!
8. Checking the Mail -- I LOVE to check the mail, and I think some of my enthusiasm is rubbing off on my daughter. We will walk together to check the mail, and when I bring it back in the house, we sit down and go through it together. I give her any of the junk mail so that she gets her own mail to sort while I go through our important stuff. It's fun to watch her "sort" her own mail which usually consists of her throwing it around and then picking it back up again, and she feels like she's a part of what I'm doing, which I think makes it fun for her too!
9. Mr. Postman -- I find myself doing a lot of writing or sending out letters on a daily basis. My lady likes to try to mess up the papers that I am attempting to get together to send and she really loves to try to rip up the papers I am writing on. I've just started getting her her own pen and paper (usually crayons :) ), so she can get her own work done while I'm doing mine. She loves writing, and it gives me some time to get my letters together and mailed during the day! I'm holding onto her masterpieces, and I'm going to be sending them to the grandparents soon!
10. Bucket of Stuff -- There are always those moments during the day when I just need a moment or two to myself to get something done...or to go to the bathroom :) I've started this bucket of "stuff" in a nice wooden vase from Target that I fill with little things she likes to play with. It looks like a decoration to everyone who visits, but if I need to run to the bathroom or talk on the phone for a minute, I can dump out the bucket and she rediscovers all of the stuff she loves that has been in hiding. It only gives me a few minutes, but it's one normal activity during the day that is plenty of fun for her and gives me the time I need when nothing else works!
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