Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Engaging the Mind- Miss K and Me

Miss K: pint size bundle of energy, ingenuity, and noise. Let me just say, this grandmama sees an awful lot of her mama, aunt and uncle in this little firecracker! Weekends with her are fun, fast, and fascinating- it keeps me on my toes!

Like any tot she has always been curious and engaging- focused eye contact and gurgly noises. Growing into the mobile, interactive, tot she now is offers even more insight into the curious mind of this little lady.

As I prepared for another visit from our little tot, I found it a great time to share specific examples of how I strive to engage the mind and allow a child to find self expression and self soothing. Let's start at the beginning.

Baby K
She was around three months old when she first started really spending time with me. One of her favorite soothing activities was a walk outside. Her face would light up as she gazed all around her: blue sky, green trees, the flower and veggie gardens.. farm animals and the noises of farm life.

Touching different textures was another engaging activity she loved: soft toys, rough books- tough and feel books are her favorite. Reading and music were calming- it amazed me how long she would let me read to her.

As she grew, we put paint on paper and placed it inside a zip bag, allowing her to poke, smear, and play at painting without too much mess. Water play- scooping, funneling, pouring- and soil exploration- getting down in the dirt and feeling it- were things she grew into.

Miss K today
At the start of her sitting up time to now, she loves fabric textures and colors; patterns are something she tends to notice and follow. Sitting on the floor with fabric and yarn offer her textile touch and interaction with creative opportunity; make a blanket, a fort, or wrap a doll in it.
Outdoors is still number one: the animals, trees and garden are always visited shortly after she arrives. Petting, smelling, hugging- touching, digging, and gazing- all offer her moments of exploration and engagement.

Painting is her indoor favorite- now with brush in hand. Watercolors are top request; dipping the brush, swirling and swoohing it in paint and paper are times of determined concentration and intense focus.

Reading and music are excellent calming activities for her. She could hear a story over and over for half an hour- and dance and sing as well.

So what does it matter?
A creative mind is a terrible thing to waste- and every mind is creative. The key is to expose them to various outlets of creativity and allow them the freedom to find the avenue best suited to their needs. If Miss K is a bit fussy, she now asks to go outside or to paint- whether she realizes it or not, she is already using self calming activities. Children need outlets to express themselves and deal with the frustrations/emotions which are simply a part of their natural growing experience.

Today's encouragement:
Let's do a little self exploration. What do you do to calm your frazzled mind?
Share your experiences, tips, and questions- inspire each other!

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