When you wake up at 4 am with a baby, by noon you are ready for a stiff drink. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with my son and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to stay home with him everyday – but one can only take so many hours of pass the toy back and forth before needing some additional stimulation.
I try to keep us pretty scheduled as I am a planner by nature. Every morning around 9 am we leave the house. Most days we just go for a walk. I take DK for a 5km loop around our neighbourhood that passes two parks, the library, a grocery store and a Starbucks (and yes, I almost always stop for a English breakfast tea latte).
Once a week we head into the library to take out some books.
I love the library. I’ve loved it since I was a little girl and my mom would bring me to choose books to read for the week. As much as I love it, however, I find the library overwhelming. You could read ANYTHING. When shopping for books at a bookstore, I am limited by my available spending money. But at a library…I can take out as many books as my little heart desires (and that I can feasibly carry home). I can read them front to back, skim them, or return them unread.
With children’s books, I could conceivably take out a hundred picture books a week and manage to read them all, but DK would quickly lose interest. As DK is 7 months old, it doesn’t really matter what we read together, as long as we read. I get into the children’s section and I’m paralyzed. How do I choose?
All this freedom is exhilarating but I’m also trapped by the possibilities and often leave empty handed, unable to make a decision. Does anyone else experience this?
And so, I’ve begun to take books out by theme. DK is learning to make the “deh” sound, so the first week I took out 5 books about ducks.
Then, one morning that week we went for a walk at a local park with a duck pond and looked at ducks. We played with his rubber duck, we sang songs about ducks (5 little ducks) and we quacked. We looked at a picture of Donald Duck.
Basically, any way I could bring up the word duck in our play, I did.
Week two, I took out 5 books about dogs. On our walks, whenever we saw a dog I’d point at it and say, “look at the dog!”
We sang “BINGO” and “How much is your doggy in the window?” too many times. We went and visited our friends with dogs so DK could touch and smell them.
It’s week 3 now, and today we took out books about pigs. We have plans on Thursday to go for a walk at Rancho San Antonio to Deer Hollow Farm where I think we will see a pig. DK also loves the This Little Piggy rhyme and we have a toy pig to play with.
I like doing the theme because it helps me stay focused at the library and it also challenges me mentally to come up with new games and activities that fit within the theme.
Some ideas I have for future themes are:
- Grandmas (grandma’s coming to visit)
- Trains (stop at the Caltrain station and see the train go by)
There are a million options!
Would this method work for you? Which themes would you try?