Sneak it in!
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
As parents, we are adept at sneaking things in for the good of our children. We choose cartoons that educate, snacks that have servings of fruits and vegetables, and toys that teach STEAM. Why should their schooling be any different?
This time of year, we are flooded with catalogs and toy books that come in the mail. It's easy to feel like "The Grinch" when they first start arriving in September! Immediately, my children start hovering over every item they see. Equally frustrating is the sheer amount of paper that is coming into the house - feels like we are constantly fighting the clutter bug. The catalogs used to go straight in my trash bin, but I have recently discovered a great way to put these to good use.
Instead of my children running to me and showing me what they'd like to have, I have encouraged them to mark the item of interest. The little one ( 2 years old) scribbles over the the product's picture. The middle one (3 years old) circles and puts his initial next to the picture. The oldest (5 years old) is able to put his name next to his choices. The two older ones even mark items they believe their siblings would like. (Honestly, their thoughtfulness is heartwarming.)
It's surprising the amount of time they can spend pouring over the pages. It reminds me of the time my siblings and I spent pouring over the Sears Wish book as kids. Like, my own children, we could envision how practically every object could benefit ourselves or a loved one. We spent hours dreaming of doll houses, chemistry sets, race cars, and dolls. When Christmas morning rolled around, we never thought to compare the toys we got, to those we had studied in the catalogs.
As my kids circle and initial toy after toy, they are strengthening their muscles in their hands. Their lumbrical muscles receive a workout without the child suspecting it. Additionally, good old Saint Nicholas has lots of research completed for him. Like a mom on a Sunny D commercial, I wear a smug grin as my kids toil away.