Tie Dyed Shirts and Kinetic Sand

Or… I need to keep my child occupied.

Sprout has been more than a little difficult lately. To be really honest, she’s been hell on wheels for several days. No amount of normal discipline/rewards were working. She is a child that cannot be left to her own devices, or she gets creative. Creative means getting into things she shouldn’t (liquid Tide poured on the carpet to clean it), or take things apart to see how they work. A bored Sprout is a Sprout that will destroy my house, and I am convinced kick-start the Apocalypse herself.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with an answer to her behavior. I firmly believe with a little patience and some observation, you can decode a child’s behavior and get to the problem.

Last night, as she was bouncing in her chair at dinner, simultaneously stuffing food in her little face and eating at the same time, it hit me. She is really bored. Not the bored that inspires you to do something new, but the bored that ends up in disaster.

I have a bookcase stuffed full of things for homeschool. Her favorites have always been the sensory stuff I’ve pulled together and collected. Last night after she was asleep, I set out her tub of kinetic sand, and her sensory tools. She happily played in it. Then she wanted her rice and beans, then she wanted her red dyed rice (ok it came out more pink than red) and alphabet pasta. All morning long she measured and poured and counted and built sand castles and played. She just played.

When that got boring, we dug out some white t-shirts and a tie dye pack I had tucked away, and we dyed t-shirts.

I’ve decided to let her play with all the stuff I have for homeschool, the paints and stickers and crayons and markers and counting bears and tanagrams, all the stuff. I’m still not writing lesson plans, but the more occupied she is, the better off we all are. It’s outrageously hot here during the day, so anything I can come up with to keep her occupied during the hottest part is wonderful. We can adventure during the morning and evening when it’s relatively cool. I can restock my supplies in a month or so when the school sales start. I cannot get back the giggles and laughter as we poured dye over tshirts, or played with “squishy sand”.

I am covered in dye (forgot the gloves). I’m sure it’s stained my back porch. The urge to grab my vacuum and clean up the mess she’s made in my living room is nearly overwhelming. But that’s what life is about, making some messes.

~Jennifer

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