Friday, July 1, 2011

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 3: Beans

I talked to my cousin's wife earlier today about fun ideas for toddlers (she's the same one who sent me some books on fun things to do with toddlers). Their oldest child, Ella, is recently 3. One of the things she mentioned today was Ella's "bean box."

They bought her a small, plastic box and filled it with dried beans. She said Ella loved scooping up the beans with measuring scoops and moving them from the box to various bowls. This sounded perfect for Oliver. Oliver loves doing that same thing with water, but after about five minutes, he pours water all over the floor. That might be great for his learning, but it's exhausting to clean up spilled water multiple times a day. I go through all my kitchen towels daily.

I was organizing some of my cabinets while Oliver took his nap, and I found half a bag of dried navy beans. When he woke up, I gave him a cereal bowl filled with the dried beans and another cereal bowl that was empty. I gave him a measuring cup, too. I told him they were for playing and not for eating, and then I let him play.He loved it. He enjoyed scooping them. He examined them up closely. He ran his fingers through them and just generally had a great time. Honestly, it kept him busy for twenty minutes! That's about when he decided to pour them all over the floor. After that, he decided it would be a good idea to sweep them with his arms to all corners of the kitchen, including under the oven and fridge. Oops.

Although they were much easier to clean than water (and less damaging), it's kind of a pain knowing that I'll have to get Andrew to move the kitchen appliances so I can get all the remaining beans up. Next time, I think I'll have him play in the living room. The other downside to the bean activity is the size of dried beans. They're the perfect size for choking. Oliver doesn't usually put things in his mouth, but I was still worried. I kept reminding him that they're not for eating, and I supervised him the entire time. He didn't even try to eat them, but I think parents of toddlers who shove things in their mouths all the time shouldn't play this game. My husband commented later that I need to be careful to make sure Oliver doesn't shove a bean up his nose or into his ear. That would be an embarrassing hospital trip. The positive aspects of the dried beans are obviously how much fun he had and how long it kept his attention. It's also very cheap. A bag of dried beans is about a dollar or two, and the beans can be saved to play with for as long as he likes them.

In all, I give this activity a B+. I really want to give it an A, but then I think about the difficult clean-up I still have ahead of me as well as the potential choking risk.

No comments: