A reader wrote and asked if I could give her a few ideas of things to do with her 3 year old. I was thrilled to be asked. So Bellisimama this is for you...
A great place to begin is by preparing the environment. What I mean by this is creating space in your home where your children have freedom in each room. If you find yourself constantly (not occasionally, CONSTANTLY) having to say "No." or "Don't touch." you may need to change some things. I already posted on this in the kitchen and I will be doing more post on other rooms.
No this isn't child labor, in the beginning it actually creates more work for me because I have to clean up again after their cleaning up-(when they aren't looking!) But it is worth it because it gives them such joy to participate and contribute to being a part of the family. (not to mention keeps them busy) I think you would be surprised at how involved your children can be.
I suggest you purchase "tools" for them, not toys, real cookware, cleaning supplies, gardening tools, etc... just smaller to fit their hands.
I am not against toys. We have more than our share. My favorites are retro Fisher Price toys, we have some that are actually vintage and some that have been reproduced. Dolls are big at our house, brio tool sets and train, and figures such as schleich. I also suggest a simple set of blocks.
Art supplies are essential in our home. The easel is often a staple in our kitchen. Be careful not to put too much out at a time and rotate toys every so often. Too much creates chaos and children crave order. If everything has it's own place clean up time is smoother.
I will have to do a complete post on books. For now I'll say authors Eric Carle, Donald Crews, and Anne Rockwell are great for a 3 year old.
Here is my favorite resource, www.michaelolaf.net Get a catalogue if possible, they have so much useful information mine has it's own place on the bookshelf.
A couple of other user friendly books are pictured here.
I could literally go on and on about this subject-and it isn't because I think I know everything. Mothering has taught me I definitley do not! But because it is the most important job- ever, I am passionate about discovering how I can best do it.