A few weeks ago I was on the phone with a friend who has 5 little ones. She was trying to talk to me and her 2 year old at the same time. She was telling him to not turn on the water and instructing him on how he could play. Then she turned her attention to me and said, "Do you ever just fill up the sink and let Micah play in the water?" She was enjoying her little one next to her, talking on the phone, while he played in the sink. I initially thought, "of course not! You are just asking for a mess. I mean, why make more work for yourself? Don't I have enough already?" I didn't say this out loud to her but it was what I was thinking.
Today I let Micah play in the backyard by himself. It didn't take long and he was into the murky bird bath water. He came in all wet with soaked and dirty arms up to his elbows. Of course I had to take off his shirt but before I put on another, I decided he might like to play in some clean soapy water while I washed dishes.
This was new to him and he didn't quite understand what I was setting up. A stool so he could reach, a towel when he spilled it all down the front of the sink, and a pot full of soapy warm water, a ladle and cup.
I washed dishes on one side of the sink while he played on the other. He loved it! Of course, he did. I always say that children and water just go together! Really all the mess I had to clean up was water on the floor.
I really need to do this more often. Why should I expect a 2 yr old to look at books all day quietly and play with toys made just for them? He is wanting to explore the world around him, dirt, water and all! I'll take a little mess any day knowing he's next to me, safely enjoying life.
Thanks friend, for the idea!