Okay. I will accept. I am running out of ideas. All the things that used to work, they don’t work all the times. Abhi and Achu still love their toys, but I can see that these can no longer keep them occupied all day. Now they are more interested around activities, so just buying new toys wont help. Because the weather here is cold, I don’t dare take them out for a stroller walk during the days. The only time they get out is during the weekends. I am mostly making it a point to take them out, at least once on the weekend. But I wish they could play and explore outside the house. Not that they are unmanageable within the house now, but it will give them a new thing to enjoy. May be I should let go of my fear and take them out everyday. I did take them out for a stroller walk yesterday afternoon. I am sure they liked it. 🙂 Some evening from last week, when Abhi looked a little cranky, it was obvious that he was bored and wanted something than usual. Seeing him, I thought of switching on TV for a while, but I resisted and found something else for us to do. We don’t allow Abhi and Achu to watch TV except for when they are eating. Anyway, back to the topic of entertaining Abhi and Achu, after I go home in the evening, there are some 3-4 hours of time I can spend with them before Abhi and Achu sleep. P and I spend most of it, playing and entertaining them, doing kitchen chores now and then.
* One evening, I suddenly remembered our age-old game, Ringa Ringa Roses. It seems like it was the only one I remember from my childhood. 🙂 P and I take turns and play this with Abhi and Achu individually. They don’t like to play this together. They wont hold each others hand. So, we do little round and round, sing the song and fall down. We included their names in the song and they loved that too. Only thing is that Achu doesn’t fall when she is supposed to, so we have make her fall down. Abhi wants to fall down even before we say ‘all fall down’. 🙂
* Abhi and Achu sit on top of us and we take them for an elephant ride around the living room singing some Telugu rhymes. They like this even now, but the problem is they are not happy with one or two turns. They just don’t want to get down and keep riding on us. And us elephants (Murali or P or I) are not fit enough for that. 🙂 Once in a while, I put them in a laundry basket and push it on the carpet. Very tiring for adults. Very entertaining for kids. 🙂
* The first time I chased Achu around in the living room, I knew it was a bad idea. Not for her, but for me. I quickly realized and stopped doing that, but she learnt faster. Now-a-days she runs away from us before we could change her dress or make her do something. We have to chase her around the room, get her back to us. She loves running away like that. 🙂 Nanny P always goes and gets her, while sometimes, I try to trick her to coming back to me. It does work sometimes. When I have to change her, I throw a clean diaper away and ask her to get it. Poor thing, she gets it to me and I catch her then. :). Even otherwise, when I chase her in the evening, just as an game, she loves just running around the room. Most of the times, she runs to her favorite secret hideout (where Abhi and Achu are supposed to be invisible. :)). Abhi is learning all this too. Soon, two kids will be running in two different directions, I wont know which way I should go. 🙂
* TV is mostly off limits for us, but P and I love playing some songs on laptop while we entertain kids. It also keeps us active and energetic. If Abhi and Achu allow us, we can just sit and hum to the tunes, once in a while. Friday evening is our dance party time. We play some party songs. P and I dance while Abhi and Achu watch. They shake their bodies a little, but don’t do the full dance yet. 🙂 Sometimes we hold them and dance. It also gives P and I a chance to dance, something we have never done in our life. 🙂
* Since we also have to cook in the same time, I try to make me being in the kitchen also entertaining for them. Last week, I sat on the other side of kitchen and demo’d them how to cut vegetables. I don’t know why , but they watched it with lot of interest. When I am making a dish, I take the ingredients to them and show them how it looks. Sometimes they can touch too. I would, gladly give them safe objects from kitchen to feel, but Abhi is still in the habit of putting everything in his mouth and who know what Achu is capable of doing with it. :). So, I have to wait for them to get over this before I can entertain them with things from kitchen. They still play with (more like fight with each other over) some safe plastic/steel bowls and cups with lids. Sometimes I sit down and let them match cup to the lid, but for now, they are more interested in drinking or eating some invisible things from these cups. 🙂 Achu walks all over the place, pretending to eat something from these bowls. 🙂
* Mixie time is another hit time entertaining Abhi and Achu. They were a lot scared of mixie sound at first too, but we now made it fun for them. Now-a-days, as soon as I say mixie time, Abhi and Achu are ready at the kitchen gate, all excited. I count down to turning the mixie on shouting…One..Two…Three….Goooo Mixie..Abhi and Achu are full of smiles. Sometimes, Abhi cant hold the excitement. 🙂 As long as the mixie is running, I sing and dance, mixie time..mixie time..mixie time. When I turn it off, we do shakey shakey a little and then mixie goes on again. This also is the reason all the foods processed in our kitchen are very finely done. Even if the chutney or powder is already done as I need it, I do extra rounds to please Abhi and Achu and the food becomes so pureed. 🙂 Once, Achu even let us cut her nails because mixie was on. That should show you the power of mixie time. 🙂
* Sometime, I put some object on my head, try to balance it while dancing a little. We call it balance dance. Idea is to dance or shake a bit, but balance the object on the head. It could be anything, a book, block, sock or my phone, anything. They like it when we lose balance and the object falls down. Abhi and Achu play this really well, btw. Because they will still hold the object with their hand, it will never fall down no matter how they shake or walk. Best game of balance dance ever. 🙂
* Who knew putting a small plastic disc on a book, spinning like a top will make Abhi laugh out loud. But, only when I say ‘zoom zoom zoom’ when the disc is spinning. Achu doesn laugh out loud much, but, Abhi does. Achu, didn’t think this was funny. But when Abhi started laughing out loud, she started doing it too. You know, because she has to copy everything he does. 🙂
* We haven’t played this many times, but, I guess water games will be a hit too. I bought their small bath tub into the living room, filled it with little water. Abhi and Achu enjoyed it a lot. Except for that this is going to make a mess out of the carpet, I would have allowed them to play here every day. They could do so many things in a tub filled with water. 🙂 (of course there will also be so much left for me to cleanup. :))
* I recently started letting them play with their clothes. Like their socks or bibs. Because we don’t use these regularly, they are excited to hold and play with them. My main idea was to teach them colors and sorting, but all that they are interested in now is throwing them away, trying to put them on or eating them. 🙂 I guess, there is still time before I could teach them that. Here are Abhi and Achu wearing all the bibs yesterday.
* Last week, Murali built this secret hide out house out of jumper (which is not used now) for Abhi and Achu. Both of them, now love hiding in here. They expect we will come looking for them. 🙂
All this seems to be working fine still, but I can see, very soon, I will be needing new activities to entertain them. The creative head of our family is sitting miles away from us, so I have to resort to internet now, for answers. 🙂 But, in reality, I also want to teach them to play on their own. Because I have time now, doesn’t mean I will have time or energy tomorrow to do all this. There has been quite a few evenings in the last weeks, where I had no energy to actively play and entertain them. I do want to make it a learning exercise for them to play on their own or with each other. They do do that now, we just have to keep the habit going.