Keeping it simple

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get a bit carried away by all the amazing images I see on Pinterest, the ones that show the wonderful creations mums have made for their little ones. Hugely detailed small world scenes. Incredible cardboard villages. Elaborate sensory bins. I pin them like crazy, aspiring to be the mum that can whip out such imaginative, educational and downright fun play activities, seemingly at the drop of a hat.

Keeping it simple

Don’t get me wrong, I really admire these mums for their energy and creativity. I am pinning those images because they have inspired me. I have had a whole load of great playtime ideas from my Pinterest boards: these are the things that help fill mine and ToddlerGirl’s days, and spark my own imagination with ideas for games I can create for her.

However, there are days (or whole weeks…) when my carefully curated Pinterest boards are almost mocking me. How on earth am I going to find the time to craft a homemade toy when I’m struggling to fit even the most necessary of household tasks into my day?

The answer? Well, clearly I’m not. And, of course, I shouldn’t give it a second thought! I will always prioritise spending time with ToddlerGirl during the day – this why my house will never be pristine and my visions of being a domestic goddess remain in my head. But I don’t need to set up elaborate games in order to do this. Keeping it simple really works too.

I was reminded of the truth of this earlier by two things:

  1. The delivery of my new cheapo version of a Tuff Spot (more about that another time!) After spending some time investigating it with ToddlerGirl, I quickly set up a pretend ‘beach’, using a piece of blue chiffony fabric for the sea, a small yellow blanket for the beach, a couple of ToddlerGirl’s little people and a small boat. It was all stuff I had immediately to hand and it wasn’t really very pretty or realistic. But ToddlerGirl played happily with it for a good while and, with the addition of some of her soft toys and a ‘beach’ train, it kept her occupied while I made dinner. I realised that she’d probably got the same amount of play value out of it than if I had spent three times as much time crafting an elaborate beach scene!
  2. Watching her play with her Daddy after dinner with nothing but an empty wrapping paper roll she’d found and a few additional props. It became a trumpet (obviously), a giant tube slide for her little people and, using a couple of building blocks, a raised bar to step carefully over.

I realised for the umpteenth time that our time and attention are the most important things to ToddlerGirl, the rest of the stuff is just peripheral. It’s OK to bring out plain old playdough without creating an exciting theme to go alongside it. I don’t need to do anything special with that cardboard box for her to enjoy herself with it. If I can’t face dealing with the aftermath, it’s fine to skip the messy play.

That’s not to say that I won’t be setting up more time-consuming activities for ToddlerGirl in the future. I love planning these types of things as it gives me a chance to unleash my creative side. But I don’t need to feel like I’ve failed if I’m not coming up with them every week. Or silly for pinning ideas that I’ll never get round to using. (That’s probably pretty much my entire Creative Mum board actually, as my sewing skills have never been that hot!)

So I shall still pin those amazing, inspiring images, alongside all the many great ideas for simple, easy to do and clear away activities. To encourage myself to act on these, rather than pinning and forgetting, I’ve been trying to revisit my boards every now and then for some Playtime Pinspiration to pick out an activity to try with ToddlerGirl. But no pressure, obviously…

Do you find yourself getting carried away on Pinterest?

Oh, and you can check out my Pinterest boards here, they really do contain an awful lot of wonderful ideas ;)

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