If your two year old isn't driving you crazy, she probably isn't learning as much as she could be.
We all need the reminder to just let them play--mess and all!
Toddlers and preschoolers learn a whole lot through:
- exploratory play (even from getting into things, or from trying on pieces of that laundry you just folded :))
- interactive language exposure (Play that involves make-believe is great for language development, such as playing with a kitchen, dolls, a mailbox, train tracks, etc. ; TV doesn't count for language development, since it isn't a back and forth verbal exchange.)
- music exposure
- movement experiences (Hokey Pokey, Ring Around the Rosy, and other simple dances, jumping, twirling, hopping...)
Lately, glue, glue sticks, and scissors have been my two-year-old's obsession. After a month of cleaning glue off of multiple surfaces, and stressing about her finding the scissors while I was out of commission (going potty, that is), I finally got smart. I cut up diaper boxes to put under her while she glued to her heart's content, and I bought preschool scissors with a covered tip and limited movement (Walmart--I hadn't seen this type before).
It drives my husband crazy that I don't try to micromanage art and craft time around here. I facilitate by getting out materials and giving an idea or two, and then I watch from afar. Husband sits with them and tries to make their creative time productive--meaning he wants them to create something display-worthy.
As usual in parenting, children benefit from both approaches.
Anyhow, with my two year old, I couldn't seem to drive home the point that glue is for sticking two things together. She just kept using it as though it were a decoration in itself--kind of like her view on chapstick. :)
I decided it was time to do a little micromanaging, at least with the glue; I cut simple shapes and taught her how to put glue on them and slap them onto the paper. Like any toddler, she really liked the SLAP part.
That activity lasted all of six minutes. In what might be another smart move, I didn't actually put her materials away. Instead, I set them all on the cardboard, knowing she'll be interested again in about twenty minutes.
When I get through the twos and threes--for the fourth time--I'll add to my resume:
Raised four toddlers--and lived to write about it!