We don’t have a washer and dryer (we turned the laundry room in our apartment into Princess Pea’s room) so we utilize my wonderful in-laws’ laundry. It’s not bad at all; they live thirty seconds up the street from us. When it’s time to switch the load from the washer to the dryer, we will walk over if the weather is nice.
Today was one of those days. The sidewalks still had snow on them in certain parts so I opted not to bring Princess Peas bike stroller and we just walked. We sang all sorts of walking and marching songs as we walked up the hill to the grandparents’ house. On the way back, I was done with singing. I had sung all morning, all afternoon, and now on our walk. I stopped singing and tried to have a conversation with my almost two year old daughter, which resulted in the request for more singing. I thought that there had to be a way out of singing another song about frogs, ducks, and marching, then it came to me! I could tell her a story. What kid doesn’t love a good story? I know Pea is constantly begging for books. I used my best child-like imagination skills and made up a story. It was simple and short, but she loved it so much that she wanted me to tell it again. I opted out of that and told her a different story. She loved it! It’s a super simple way to keep words flowing (language development) and not have to sing about frogs, ducks, monkeys, and marching (but you may still end up talking about them). Here are my two stories:
The first is about a crow because Pea and I love crows.
Once upon a time there was a crow. The crow had beautiful black feathers and was very smart. Every day he would fly around the neighborhood looking for food. One day he noticed a little girl and her mom going for a walk. He saw that occasionally the little girl would throw peanuts on the ground. The crow was shy and waited until the girl and her mom were further away before he swooped down and ate the peanuts. He would gobble them up and then fly after them waiting for the next pile of peanuts.
The next day he saw the girl and her mom walking. He did the same thing again and again. The little girl and her mom would walk almost every day and drop peanuts for the crow. Over time the crow got more and more brave and would swoop for the peanuts sooner and sooner. The crow liked the little girl and the little girl seemed to like him.
One day, the crow was out flying, looking for the girl, but he didn’t see her. He waited and waited, but she didn’t come. Worried, the crow began flying further and further out looking for the girl. He began swooping down near cars and houses, but didn’t see her. Suddenly he saw a very big yellow van driving down the road. He flew closer and saw that the little girl was in the van. He followed the van as fast as he could.
The van left the neighborhood and drove down the road to a new neighborhood. It parked in front of a house. The crow landed in the tree in the yard and cawed loudly. The little girl hopped out of the van with a bag of peanuts and dropped them on the ground for the crow.
I know simple and silly, but she loved it. She asked me to tell it again, but I told this story instead (she loved this one more).
Once upon a time there was a cute red squirrel with a big bushy tail. The squirrel was so proud of his beautiful bushy tail, he would run through the forest singing “Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail! Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail!” The other animals in the forest did not appreciate his signing.
One day Squirrel ran through the forest singing “Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail! Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail!” when he came across Bunny.
“Squirrel, you should not sing so loudly, it’s dangerous.” Bunny warned him.
But Squirrel just laughed and sang “Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail! Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail!” Bunny hopped off upset.
Squirrel continued running in the forest singing loudly “Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail! Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail!” when he came across Crow. Crow swooped down to greet him.
“Good day, Squirrel. You know, you shouldn’t sing so loudly, it is dangerous.”
Squirrel laughed and sang louder “Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail! Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail!” Crow flew off annoyed as Squirrel continued on through the forest.
It wasn’t long before Squirrel came across Mouse. He stopped singing long enough to greet him.
“Hello, Squirrel. You need to be careful, I saw Fox not that long ago. You really shouldn’t sing so loud.” Mouse warned him.
Squirrel just rolled his eyes and then sang as loud as he could “Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail! Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail!” and continued on through the forest. Mouse shook his head sadly and hurried home.
Squirrel was having so much fun singing as loud as he could, he decided to walk. He walked along shouting “Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail! Squirrel, squirrel, swish your bushy tail!”
His voice was so loud that he did not hear Fox creep up behind him. He was singing so loud, he did not hear Fox following him. He was singing so loud he did not realize that Fox was near until it was too late.
Fox lunged at Squirrel and bit his tail clean off. Squirrel yelped and ran home as fast and as quiet as he could. From then on, the forest was much quieter.
It doesn’t take much to make up a story. I used to make up stories about my daughter and her stuffed crocodile in the car on the way to swimming lessons. The stories always included her and the crocodile swimming and it prepared her for the next activity.
What kind of things do you do with your children to fill time or keep connections?