(Goblin is 23 months)This week I was starting to fret that Goblin was spending all his waking hours playing with his cars and trains. But then I realised how much learning goes on when Goblin is at play. For example Goblin wanted to play with his trains.
I was in the kitchen and when I came back in I found this. He had got the track out on his own and put it together. I hadn't seen him do this before. Goblin has never shown an aptitude towards puzzles. He can find where the piece needs to go but can't be bothered to manipulate it to fit the hole and usually leaves it half in and half out and moves onto the next piece. But this train track building just goes to show that he can manipulate pieces into place when he is motivated.
Goblin loves playing in our room. Often he raids Hublet's change jar and leaves coins strewn across the floor. This week I took advantage of his interest in money and got him to practice dropping coins into the slots in a piggy bank. He struggled getting them lined up to fit in. This is a similar skill to the manipulation of jigsaw puzzles, but again Goblin was more motivated because it was coins. I even managed to get him to sort some of them into size.
Later the same day he got out a puzzle game. But instead of matching the torsos and legs he poured them out of the box and then practiced putting them back in the box through the slot in the top.
And when he got bored of that he pulled the lacing cards off the shelf and did some lacing. This is great for fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. He likes doing several at once. The cards we use were illustrated by the artist who did the hungry caterpillar and they are beautiful.
Of course as well as some successes with learning through play Goblin spent a significant amount of time watching Something Special. Hublet bought several DVDs of the show because the daily screenings on cbeebies weren't enough to feed Goblin's addiction to Mr Tumble. He stands by the sofa pointing at the TV at random intervals during the day shouting "TUMBLE" at the top of his voice until we put it on.
Goblin's vocabulary has actually grown a lot since he started copying Mr Tumble and he is very interactive with the show. But the other day after he'd watched three episodes back to back I did start to fret. So I made him a shaker to play with while he watched it. I got the idea from the blog Peaceful Parenting.
Jen points out that the heavy bottle will help build muscle and improve gross motor skills. Goblin sat watching TV and tipping the bottle back and forth, occasionally tearing himself away from the screen to stare at the glitter, lacing beads, foil stickers and marbles I'd put in the water.
I think if I make another I might use food colouring to die the water and add some cooking oil - then it will look like a lava lamp when Goblin tips it.
And Goblin found another activity this week to improve his gross motor skills. He emptied two shelves in my wardrobe (which was quite impressive as the clothes were quite heavy). And then he played hide and seek.
Later he even helped me put all the clothes back in.