Sunday, February 19, 2012

Toddler Drinking Water Access

(I have to apologize for the poor picture quality here. I was shooting into the sun and didn't have the time to fiddle with things to get better shots.)

Our most recent experiment in toddler independence has been setting up a "watering
hole" for Margaret.

I found this plastic drink dispenser at Wal-Mart for $5. I cleared off a space on one of her art supply shelves, placed a little grippy drawer liner under the jug to keep it from sliding around, and set some open cups and washcloths for cleaning up spills next to it. I placed a large bowl on the floor for catching overflow and drew a dot on the bowl directly under the spout with a Sharpie to help her aim the water into the cup.

I'm not gonna lie, this was an annoying mess at first. Girlfriend loves playing in water, so she proceeded to fill up every cup and dump them all in the bowl. Once she got that out of her system, though, she seemed content with using the jug only when she wanted a drink.

All said, it was worth the mess in the beginning to allow her this independence. She now offers me cups of water as I'm going about my day, and she's been pretty good about leaving water-play for the tub, sink, or outdoors after her initial exploration.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Toddler Tableware Storage

Just a quick one for today. In keeping with the "encouraging independence" theme (see: toddler lunch buffet and toddler snack bucket), I decided it really was time to do a little rearranging in the kitchen so Margaret has free access to her tableware.

It was previously stored in a high cabinet by the stove. I simply switched it to a drawer that was holding kitchen linens and moved the linens to the cabinet.

The drawer easily holds Margaret's plates, bowls, and utensils, as well as some sleeved bibs for spaghetti night and flannel washcloths for messy hands and faces.

The first day I made the change, Margaret was a little giddy with this newfound freedom and emptied the contents onto the kitchen table. She stacked, sorted, and rearranged the plates and bowls for a good 45 minutes. Then she laid them all out and placed a raisin onto each plate. Cute!

When she was finished, I was amazed to see her gather everything up and place it back in the drawer. It's been smooth sailing since then, happily.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Toddler Snack Bucket

Our Toddler Lunch Buffet has been such a hit, I wanted to have a go at letting Margaret have a bit more choice in her snacking and encourage some self-sufficiency. So I made up a snack bucket for her.

Along with the snacks, I tossed in some divided plates and a sippy of water. I also made sure all the containers were ones she is able to open herself.

Every morning I fill it up, and she's free to eat whatever she likes from it whenever she wants up until an hour before dinner. I prepare a week's worth of snacks ahead of time and keep them in a bucket in the pantry to refill from during the week:

Pictured: Cuties (she can peel them herself), bananas, granola bars (she calls them candy bars!), packets of dried fruit (a splurge because they were on sale; usually I'd buy a big bag and divide them myself), mini boxes of raisins (I save the boxes and refill from a big canister), containers of whole wheat crackers/dry cereal/pretzel rods.

I also cleared out one of my fridge crisper drawers and filled it with cold snacks.

Pictured: yogurt, sippies of milk and water, containers of cottage cheese and hummus, cut up pepper jack cheese (her favorite!) and cold cuts.

The little sweetie had food poisoning or a tummy bug a while ago, and I was having a hard time getting her to eat anything afterward. This new snack system was such a novelty that she happily went to town on all the goodies, and it's been a hit ever since.