One of the struggles I face in both parenting and teaching my children is their age gap.
3 years is practically nothing for adults, and even teenagers with a 3 year age difference can relate on many academic subjects.
But for very young children, 3 years can be a world of difference.
SunnyGirl is 1 year old, working on things like walking backwards, jumping with both feet, sorting colors, mimicking animal sounds, and following one step directions like “sit down, please.” Just today she learned how to drink from a straw!
LittleMan is 4 years old, working on things like phonics, basic addition, reading and spelling his simple words, writing his name, telling time, peddling a bike, finding England on a map, sorting dinosaurs by diet, and describing how plants grow.
Finding things that appeal to both of them feels next to impossible. Often I find myself trying to engage SunnyGirl in an activity she can do solo long enough to work with LittleMan on something he’ll actually benefit from.
Granted, teaching LittleMan about patience and compassion is easier because SunnyGirl fills that role. Going over colors and reading board books to her helps him review things he mastered months (or years) ago, while also providing him with experience in the virtues I hope he’ll take to heart.
Still, every once in awhile they’ll both be interested in something that allows their learning to overlap.
Yesterday LittleMan wanted to read about dinosaurs half the day, so naturally when bath time rolled around I decided to set up a dinosaur theme bath for him. When I think of dinosaurs, I think of a world overgrown with forests and plants- green everywhere. As I was trying to find lots of green things to act as plants in our dinosaur bath, I realized that I could combine the two themes.
glass gems, plastic plants, foam noodles, plastic balls, foil shred, mega bloks, cups, spray bottle of colored water, foam dinosaur-shaped stickers, non-adhesive random shaped foam pieces, and plastic toy dinosaurs.
LittleMan got to talk about dinosaurs, what they ate, how they lived. He did some small world play.
SunnyGirl got to be surrounded by green, various shades, and practice mimicking the sounds we think dinosaurs made.
And they both had a wonderful time.by