We are on a summer holiday. Hooray!
After the success of my earlier post about gift ideas for three year old children, I decided to make a list for two year olds as well. These ideas can be used to make a wish list for friends and family that are coming over for the birthday. I again have not mentioned any bicycles, cars or other big toys like slides, sand pits and play houses.
This toys on this list were the most used toys in the year that our boys were two.
- The classis Fisher Price register. They can use this for years.
2. Books. Some of the stories that our boys enjoyed over and over again.
3. Duplo. One of their favourite toys in the world. Building, playing, making up stories… Small sets, big sets, there is always something within budget.
4. Play figurines. Perfect toys to take on the road, when visiting friends, in the car, in a restaurant etc. Our boys absolutely love dinosaurs, but there are many sets available like farm animals, wild animals, fish, horses etc.
5. Wooden train set. Another toy that will last years and they can start playing with it from this age onwards. Ikea also has a really nice and affordable set.
Just a last tip: At this age, children usually have many toys already and unpacking presents can be quite overwhelming, especially when they get a lot of new toys. When we celebrated our boys’ birthday I also put some clothes on their wish list, especially items for the season ahead. It was a great way to make sure they boys did not get too many toys and to stock up on clothes as they really could use some new ones. Just make sure you mention the sizes you want, you can never be too specific when it comes to clothes 🙂
Our boys are true artists in the making. This is their wall of fame with a collection of highly original art made in their most recent period we like to call ‘the troubled toddler’.
One of the stories we are reading a lot at the moment is Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson. It’s a great rhyming story, not the easiest one to read to be honest, but with a lot of hidden meanings and discoveries to make. The story is about Drip, a duckbill dinosaur that ends up in the wrong nest and is raised as a T-rex. But he really does not feel at home with this family and one day he runs away and ends up with a herd of duckbills, the dinosaurs that the tyrannosauruses want to eat. –spoiler– When the T-s finally have a way to get to the duckbills, Drip scares them off with their own disfigured reflections in the water.
Our boys find this concept very interesting; of course they know about mirrors and they have seen reflections before. But recently I realised that the story really had stayed on their minds… Last week it had been raining and there were quite a few puddles on the street. On the way home from school, they suddenly stop their bikes in the middle of the sidewalk.
‘Mom, I see the clouds’, one of them says, pointing down.
‘Mom, I see the sky’, the other one says, also looking down.
At first I am confused, but then I see what they mean. The sun has come out and the sky is reflected in the puddle.
Then one of the says: ‘It’s just like the story, mommy.’
From there on they run from one puddle to the next to see what else there is to see ‘in the ground’; houses, windows, street lanterns, cars, even an airplane. And then of course their own faces. It was so great to see how much fun they had.
So I bought blackboard paint and painted a big piece of one of the walls in our living room with it. When it was all dried and finished I explained to the boys that they could now write on this wall with their chalk. They were very happy with my surprise.
‘Wow,’ said the first. And he started scribbling on the wall.
‘Wow,’ said the second. And he walked to another wall and before I realised what happened he had scribbled some huge scratches on our normal walls.
The Why-phase has started. I don’t think I have ever had so many questions per day. Here are some examples of the questions I got in the last hour.
- Why are you wearing shoes?
- Why are you not wearing shoes?
- Why are dogs not wearing shoes?
- Why is the grass green?
- Why is it not orange?
- Why can I not draw on the table?
- Why do I have to draw on paper?
- Why is the white not working?
- Why do we not have black paper?
- Why is it finished?
- Why does the shop not have black paper?
- Why don’t you go to the shop to get black paper?
- Why can I not put white on the wall?
- What is this?
- Why is this a bellybutton?
- Why do I have a bellybutton?
- Why do you have a mole?
- Why do you have so many moles?
- Why do I have moles?
- Why do I not have more yet?
- Why are you sitting there?
- Why are you drinking tea?
- Why are you thirsty?
- Why are you tired?
- Mom, why are you tired?
‘Mommy, we want to play with our new clay!’
This translates as: Mommy build us clay animals.
No idea if anyone ever manages to make the clay look as great as in the picture.
Luckily the boys think what I build is very lifelike. Silly them.
These days I often walk with the boys. I am teaching them about traffic, traffic lights, trams and other important rules. The boys however are more interested in their surroundings. If they see something of interest on the ground (usually garbage) they want to grab it. So teaching them about trash is one of those other important rules.
Their favourite things to find are sticks though. We can’t walk past a tree or bush without them diving in the soil to get a half rotten, dirty, wet stick. This stick is the most precious thing they have ever seen and it has to come home with us. If it’s not so big it has to be put in my handbag (yuk). If it is big, it will be in their hands until they find a better one. Or until it breaks and they cry till I have fixed it (em, yes, till I have found the perfect replacement that is). Or till we get home and they leave it in our hallway for later. (And when they are in bed I throw them in the garden, the sticks are piling up like crazy.)
There is something that tops the stick though: stones. The best thing that can happen is finding nice pebbles (or horribly dirty ones, sometimes they get confused with hardened dog poo). When we come across a yard that has stones instead of grass they jump for joy and dive in. What usually happens then is that they fight about the same stone, even though there are hundreds of similar stones. All the while I am waiting/ freezing in the cold/ getting wet in the rain / burning in the sun. A 10 minute walk usually takes about 35 minutes with these two. But hey, soon we’ll have enough stones to build my own pebble garden.
A few days ago I painted some woodwork in our living room. I did this while the boys were in school and when I was done I cleaned up and opened the windows to get the smell out. By the time the boys were home, there was hardly any scent left. The paint was still drying so I told them to stay away from the wood, which they did (or so I thought).
The next morning I woke up the boys in their bedroom and I smelled paint thinner. How strange I thought, as I had not painted there. But as we are living in an old house I thought ‘maybe all the smells went up through the ceiling?’. So I opened up the windows to make sure it would evaporate quickly.
But as soon as the boys were home from school, I could smell that nauseating smell again. And I had not even been painting. I sniffed everywhere to make sure I had not left anything with paint on it. I threw out the rags and the newspapers that I had used, even though they were not so smelly. And still I could smell paint thinner when I was around the boys. I sniffed and sniffed. Maybe I was going crazy? Was I smelling things that were not there?!
Right. I admit it looked a little crazy, me going sniffing through the whole house…. but the next morning I finally found the source of the smell. My son’s favourite stuffed animals had a slightly black ear. He hardly lets go of that animal so when I got it from his grip, I nearly fainted. YAIKS, that thing stank!
I have absolutely no idea how he managed to get his animal anywhere near my paint stuf, my guess is he probably threw it against my painted wood. Anyway, the mystery has finally been solved and is in the washing machine right now. Toddlers: never a dull moment.