Anna is a super curious, super active kid. Now that she's 2, I've noticed that the same old playdates I've been planning for her don't seem to be cutting it. She's easily bored and her emotions can trigger a meltdown if I don't keep this little monkey entertained. The main problem for me is that I was such a different sort of kid growing up--- maybe it's because I came from a big family where individualized attention was hard to come by- but I was the kind of kid who could play quietly and seek out my own entertainment. Although I was just as happy and giggly as Anna, I just wasn't as active. I'm really glad that she challenges me in this way, but sometimes I am at a loss for how to keep her entertained. Recently, I've been trying to find some common ground for inspiration.
And so one day I was brainstorming ideas and I thought of something---- I am a party girl! I really will look for any reason to have a fun time. On Cinco de Mayo, I make tacos and margaritas; On St. Patty's Day, it's roast beef and green beer; Superbowl Sunday I make Eagles green cupcakes. I even like to celebrate the odd holidays (don't even get me started on faschnaut day- aka Donut Day!) (yes, I realize that food is very integral to my celebrations...).
So, I thought, well heck, there are all sorts of weird holidays out there, right? I did a quick google search for "Weird holidays 2011", and voila! Several great websites popped up with complete lists. I jotted a bunch down on our big family calendar in the kitchen, and I've been using them as inspiration for activities with Anna--- It's been really fun!
On July 10, we celebrated Teddy Bear Picnic Day by simply eating lunch in the backyard with some of Anna's plush friends.
On July 22, some other moms and their kids met us at a local pet store to celebrate Rat Catcher's Day- although we didn't see many rats, there were plenty of other animals to keep us entertained! That night, we had family movie night and watched Ratatouille.
Most days we celebrate in small ways, like on Vesuvius day (August 24) we just looked at pictures of volcanoes on the internet. On International Literacy Day (September 8) we took a nice long break to read books together.
August 31 was National Trail Mix Day, so I seized the opportunity to clean out my cabinets a bit and teach Anna about mixing. I filled some small containers with a couple of her favorite treats- Cheerios, cheese crackers, raisins and potato chips.
I put all 4 cups in front of her and showed her how to dump everything into a bigger bowl.
Then I asked her to say "Trail Mix", which was a lesson in and of itself as she's really getting the hang of stringing multiple words together. Finally, she was able to enjoy her little creation!
Ironically, she ate most of it methodically and separately- first the chips, then the raisins, then she picked out the cheerios, and at the end, she left the cheese crackers- rather than as an actual mix. But we had a good time anyway!
Some days I'm able to find fun ways to really go all out for a holiday. July 25 was Culinarian's Day, so I decided Anna could make her own dinner. I had to find an easy idea that Anna would also love to eat- Pizza was the natural choice! I gathered dough, pizza sauce, cheese and rollers....
I showed Anna how to roll out the dough...
|"I wonder if I can flip this high in the air..."|
She loved this activity because it allowed her to get pretty messy with the flour! Next up, I spread pizza sauce on top of her little dough circle, and I let her sprinkle the cheese on herself...
Sprinkling the cheese on top was definitely her favorite part of the project! She patiently waited while the pizza cooked in the oven...
...and about 10 minutes later her delicious masterpiece was ready!
Who doesn't love pizza for dinner??
I've also found ways to get other family members involved in our little celebrations. One of our favorite parties was for Ugly Truck Day on July 20. First, we hit up the library for some books about trucks.
Then, with the help of Anna's Grandpop, we were able to pull out all the stops. Pop brought his pickup truck over to give Anna a grand tour!
He let her sit in the driver's seat and beep the horn...
he showed her how to inspect the tires...
and she even got to climb into the bed of the truck...
Very cool stuff for a toddler!
After the truck tour, Pop presented her with a truck of her own- an ambulance that lights up!
Oh, but the party didn't stop there! No sir! I planned to make meatloaf for dinner, and Dave challenged me to make it in the shape of a truck...
For dessert, Pop and Gram surprised us with special truck cookies...
And I made "Mud on the Tires"
|(pudding, gummy worms, crushed cookies for dirt, round cookies for tires)|
And, much to this mom's delight, I found this gem....
See, it's like the universe is reminding me that there's always a reason to party!
And that's really what this new project of mine is about... we don't go all out every day- but if I have these quirky little holidays on my calender, I can find fun ways to make almost every day special. Some days it might just be creating a meal inspired by a holiday, other days I might find a good idea for a learning experience for Anna, and other days we might just go all out crazy for the heck of it! If every day is special, it really gives us alot to look forward to, doesn't it?
Here's a link to get you started: http://www.daysoftheyear.com/
We're already looking forward to Mad Hatter Day and Music Day in October! How about you?