The author of one blog I read, I Can Teach My Child, recently issued a 30 for 30 challenge in which she challenged her readers to spend purposeful time interacting with their children 30 minutes per day for 30 days.
30 Minutes of interaction doesn't seem like a lot. I spend all day with my kids, after all. It seems like a given that a stay at home parent will spend 30 minutes of time interacting with children. However, I have found that 30 minutes of purposeful interaction can be exceedingly difficult to come by. In my experience, a lot of our interactions are somewhat distracted. We sit down to build blocks and then I have to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer, or nurse the baby, or go to the bathroom, or I realize that I need to respond to an email and then pretty soon I'm busy doing other things. So while I'm with the kids all day, I might not really be with them. I didn't take the "30 for 30" challenge per say. I'm still making the adjustment to two children, and I didn't feel that this was an ideal time for me to be making rigid commitments that I would then feel guilty for breaking. But her challenge has given me a lot to think about and has reminded me that being in the same house with my children does not mean that I'm fostering my relationship with them. So, I've been trying to be purposeful about spending time with John when Isla goes down for her morning nap.
Another challenge to spending 30 minutes with John is that his attention span is not nearly long enough to do one sustained activity for that long. So our time is usually broken up with different activities and often in different chunks of time throughout the day.
One thing that we've been doing is building with mega bloks. Actually, what he enjoys is me stacking the blocks so that he can knock them over. I am not an engineer, and I'm usually at a loss as to what one can build with mega bloks. I'm sure that there are some people who could sit down and whip up the Taj Mahal, no problem. But I had to take to google to get ideas. Unfortunately I didn't find a lot of ideas for what to build but I did stumble onto this website that describes educational ideas for mega bloks including sorting colors, learning patterns and discussing ideas of dimension like tall and wide. I'm always amazed by how much can be learned with very simple activities. So far we've worked on sorting them by color, which was successful.
We've also been enjoying playing with flubber. You can google it and find any number of recipes for flubber as well as ideas for how you can experiment with it. A Non-Newtonian fluid*, flubber flows, bounces and can be broken into pieces. John really likes to play with it but it requires attentive supervision. I have heard from other friends that it it very difficult to remove from hair and carpet. I have to watch John carefully to make sure he doesn't get it everywhere but, even then, sometimes it gets past me:
* Something I only know because I read it on a blog. Turns out kids love Non-Newtonian fluid.