Cheap Thrills

Three things that have kept Calvin and Henry entertained for amazingly long periods of time recently:

1. "What time is it, Mr. Lion?" - This is a fabulous variation on tag and works well inside when the weather is too cold and icey to enjoy. Gets lots of energy out and involves lots of counting, anticipation, and hilarious giggling and/or screaming. Which is necessary sometimes.

One person is Mr. Lion. Everyone starts at a "base" and asks, "What time is it, Mr. Lion?" He tells them whatever time he wants, and they take that number of steps away from the base, in any direction. But if he should say, "It's DINNER TIME!" instead of an hour, they all run like mad back to the base before the lion gets them for dinner!

I first read about this game and kinda thought, "Lame." But Henry and Calvin (and the co-op preschool kids) L-O-V-E-LOVE it and never want to stop playing. That's good fun, in my book.

2. Tickle the Taco - Calvin came up with this game one afternoon, rolling in a lap blanket on the floor. He announced, "Mom! I'm a taco!" So I crawled over and tickled him, then nibbled on his taco toes and pretend gobbled his head, and he thought it was the best thing ever. Then we needed to roll Henry up in the taco shell, gobble on him, tickle him, then unroll him out across the floor. This game continued until I couldn't possibly roll or tickle another taco, and the boys were thrilled with the variation on wrestling. So, a fabulous Cabin Fever Fighter. Invented by the 4-year-old.

3. Tubby Toys - I hate tub toys. I think they are a breeding ground for who-knows-what, especially with boys who do who-knows-what in the course of a bath, and the toys invariably get smelly or mildewy or whatever, despite the best efforts at sanitizing or drying them out between baths. Not to mention that cups to play with are also a big no-no in my experience since they provide the irresistible temptation to drink the bath water. Blech!
But the boys need something to keep bathtime fun, and this is it at our house: inexpensive sponges and straws. Cut a little slice in the top of a sponge and insert the straw for a mast, and you've got a little boat. The sponges can also be filled with water and squeezed out over and over again, the straws can blow and scatter the bath bubbles - the possibilities are endless and have occupied them for weeks of bath times now. And the straws are disposable, the sponges are easily washed or tossed, and the boys use their imaginations and have oodles of bubbly fun.

These kind of small simple things make me happy, especially in a world where someone is always trying to convince you that you need to buy this or that learning toy or invest in fancy curriculae or sign up for lots of extracurriculars, even at age 2. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing better for a preschooler to be doing than laughing, running and screaming a little, and enjoying the every-day things around them. Things that don't cost anything but a little time.


An Ordinary Mom said...

Amen to that post. Too much consumerism going on in this world. Thanks for all the great tips!

Super Happy Girl said...

I never liked tub toys either, what a great idea you had!

We had a taco game also: I'd roll up my kids like a taco and said they were the best little taco in the whole world.

*Suddenly sad and missimg those days*

Pam said...

I must admit the first tub toys Peanut ever saw was a gift from her Aund - rubber duckies. She loves them, but they will be the only tub toys she ever gets. I'm more of a "here's a few cups and lids and oh, an empty shampoo bottle" kind of mom.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Great ideas!

Anonymous said...

I will use these ideas to help us through the winter blahs! Thanks!

someone else said...

Fun stuff to do here. I really like that Lion game.

Are you sure they aren't sipping the bath water through the straws?

Nothing is quite so fun as sponges in water. Have they tried cutting them into shapes for the bathtub?

Now I'm off to find some more coffee.