Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Indoor vs Outdoor

In my previous entry, I have written about activities for parents and babies. Pardon me for the delay as I am over occupied by workloads and not to mention the never-ending symptoms of pregnancy which makes me feel super lazy and demotivated at times. Yes, I am now 9 months' pregnant, Syukur Alhamdulillah.. 

To think of being pregnant while working and at the same time having a little toddler at home waiting to be given the utmost attention plus Darling Hubby is working on shift basis; it really had taken me to the indescribable situation as a human at times! I know I am being unfair not only to my beloved son, the baby inside my womb but also to my Darling Hubby due to my mood swings, tiredness, negative work pressure etc. However, I always remind myself that Ilyas is in the phase of growing up and I have to deal with all the changes appropriately so that he would have a great memories of his childhood. 

So, what can I do to instill a wonderful experience during his childhood with my current situation now? There goes this indoor and outdoor activities entry =) Since I am used to take care of Ilyas without Darling Hubby with us all the time, I have to think of some activities which I can apply to my son indoor and outdoor. I will not be discussing further on the type of toys that we must get for our kids but I will be focusing more on the activities to be done indoor and outdoor for toddlers at the age of 2 years old.

Indoor Activities

1) Type of Activity : Drawing
    Tools needed : Pencil, Pencil Colour, Crayon, Paper

This activity is very artistic. Children are imaginative and it is good to have activities which can enhance their artistic ability such as drawing. First and foremost, teach your child on how to hold a pencil correctly. Give him a piece of paper and a pencil, ask him to sketch anything that he wants even though you might end up having a messy dotted circled curved scratched paper. Your child is developing his fine motor skill by running the pencil onto the paper with their fingers. When you find that your child is now able to hold a pencil in a right way, try to introduce him to a few pictures of familiar shapes.

Why shapes and not alphabets?

According to researches
, by the age of 2, toddler must be able to draw a circle (Moreno, 2010). Drawing a circle is easier rather than to draw the alphabets which have many horizontal and vertical lines such as A, M, T, Z (it requires your child to have a better control of their muscles movement in order to draw those alphabets). However, it is a bonus if your child can easily draw alphabets at his early age as it shows that his fine motor skill is progressing really well!

2) Type of Activity : Blocks Building
    Tools needed : Colourful Containers, Lego Blocks, Boxes

Some parents might want to introduce this activity earlier to their children. This is because this activity encourages creative thinking
Anastasi & Schaefer (1971) defined creativity as the ability to see situations in a new way, to produce innovations, or to discern previously unidentified problems and find novel solutions
As for Ilyas, I have bought him Lego Blocks a few months back after the observation that I have made in regards to his interest. At first, Darling Hubby bought him Playdoh unfortunately he was not interested with the clay but he used the Playdoh containers and stacked them as high as he can reach. 

This is when I realized that he is now ready for blocks building activity. But as the first introduction to this activity; you have to be with him and show him how to stack the blocks tightly. It does not matter how he wants to stack them as long as he knows that the blocks need to be stacked correctly to avoid them from falling apart. Let him build whatever objects he wants and do not restrict him from building the same objects over and over again. He has yet to think out of the box so do encourage him whenever he failed stacking the blocks. Once he is confident to stack on his own, he might want to try build up a few objects which he can imagine. You may see how your child develop his creativity day by day using blocks as this is one of the way they can express their imaginationCreativity leads to a healthy brain development!

3) Type of Activity : Reading
    Tools needed : Flash Cards, Soft Story Books

I have bought those flash cards and soft story books since Ilyas was 6 months old. As he started to crawl and sit on his own, I have introduced him to alphabets, numbers and objects from the soft story books and flash cards. Whenever I read to him, of course he would not sit still and always wanted to hold the book as well. I just let him do so as I want him to love the activity which involves books thingy. I know at 6 months old, he could not utter the words yet but I want him to familiarize himself with those objects and shapes. Alhamdulillah, now he can recognize and pronounce a few alphabets and objects easily. 

Reading shall be promoted as early as we can due to children's ability to memorize is better when they are still young. Yes, I agree with the fact but as parents, we should at first educate ourselves with the knowledge of multiple intelligence (kindly refer to this link for a brief definition of multiple intelligence). 

Please take note,
High intelligence in one area does not necessarily accompany high intelligence in any of the others (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2009). 
Hence, once we have figured out our child's strength of intelligence, we can then vary the type of books to be introduced according to our child's age and type of intelligence that he has. For Ilyas, it is enough for him to have books with alphabets and pictures at this age. Widen his vocabulary is my main target now. I have yet to buy him a proper story book as I can see that his interest is more on the pictures rather than the story line. Furthermore, reading takes more time on mental digestion rather than physical which does not suit Ilyas's need at this moment.

4) Type of Activity : Movie Time!
    Tools needed : DVD of Selected Cartoons, Documentaries of Animals

Watching movie is fun but there must be a restriction to the genre of movies and time allocated for this activity to take place. From my observation, Ilyas loves to watch cartoons which resembles familiar common living characters such as Upin Ipin or Frozen. He does not favor Mickey Mouse, Spongebob or Tom & Jerry. But if I switched the channel to any animal documentaries for instance, he will be so excited to name the animals that he sees on the TV. But again, for this particular activity, parental guidance is necessary. Please make sure our child keeps his distance from the TV, do respond to his questions while watching the movie (there might be something that he will query) and monitor the time spent watching the TV (if possible not more than an hour and not everyday).

Outdoor Activities

1) Type of Activity : Swimming
    Tools needed : A Portable Swimming Pool, Foams, Floats

I found swimming is one of the interesting outdoor activity. Like I said, I have a very limited access to public swimming pool as Darling Hubby is not always at home. Thus I bought this portable swimming pool (below RM50) and put it outside at the garden or garage area of my house. I started to take Ilyas to swim at the age of 5 months old. Just to get himself comfortable with water. I was so happy watching him kicked his legs and splashed the water with his tiny hands. At least this activity encourages all of his muscles to work.

Now that he is already 2 years old, I am more confident to allow him to play inside the pool alone but of course with my 100% supervision. But this time around, I let him enjoy this activity by adding the foams into the pool and make bubbles together. It is a simple thing to do with your toddler outdoor in a safe environment.

2) Type of Activity : Playing at the Park i.e running, jumping, walking, throwing etc.
    Tools needed : A Ball, A Bottle of Plain Water, Wet Tissues

Ocay, this activity is applicable to me when Darling Hubby is with us. If not, I would not dare to take my baby out in the park. Just imagine me running around the park chasing after my baby and picking up the ball while my baby is at the other side alone, ohhh it is a BIG NO NO! I have suggested that this activity to be done once every week if possible during the weekend when both parents are available

The ball is actually an additional prop if you were to encourage your toddler to use his ultimate strength to kick or throw the ball. The park has a big space for this kind of activity, no worries. If not, you can always use whatever the park has provided such as the swings, slides, seesaws etc.

Safety always comes first no matter where are you at. As for this activity, choose a park which is situated farther from the main road. Avoid playing with rustic equipment at the park. Check on the cleanliness of the park in case your child might picking up any objects on the ground. Last but not least, always keep your child's hands clean after playing at the park. You may use the plain water (in case there is no toilets at the park) or get the wet tissues for clean up.

3) Type of Activity : Cycling
    Tools needed : A Bicycle, A Helmet, A Pair of Proper Shoes

I have promised Ilyas to buy him a bicycle! This activity promotes independence and bravery in him and that is what I want him to instill within himself. But this activity is quite risky especially when your toddler is overly excited but yet to have a better control of balancing himself while cycling. Therefore, parents need to do a lot of survey on which bicycle is appropriate and worth to buy according to the child's readiness on cycling. I guess this is one of the most 'expensive' outdoor activities for children as they might want different kind of bikes later once they have developed their cycling skills. 

To conclude my entry, I would like to highlight that playing is a normal routine for children. Do not hinder your child's will to play either indoor or outdoor. They are learning by playing and it is parents' responsibility to ensure that the environment is safe, conducive and appropriate for their children to play around. 

Let our children have the greatest childhood moments because they deserve it! 

The end. Thank you! =)

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