Don’t even try to tell me you don’t immediately start singing the song in your head at the very mention (or…reading) of the words “Car Wash”. “(Workin’ at the) car wash. Workin’ at the car wash, yeah!” Try getting THAT out of your head for the rest of the day. We did the car wash at 11:30 this morning. It’s 5:11pm now and I’m still singing it. Welcome to my world.
Today was the kind of day where, if I didn’t have kids, I would have stayed in bed watching movies all day. It’s grey and gloomy and just begs your body to be tired. Unless you’re 2. Then you’re up at the crack of 6:00am anyway. No rest for the wicked in this house! I wondered if I’d have the energy for any special activities today, but after a few time outs (“Zach, put the dog food back please! No! Listen to Mommy, don’t you dare dump that on the carpet!!!”), a few temper tantrums and a few headaches later, I decided the boredom that was leading to bad behavior needed to be stopped STAT. What could possibly work quick enough to salvage this lazy day? Bowls of water and permission to splash in them, that’s what!
I set up a little car wash in the kitchen today, which I read about HERE. Another sensory tub type of exercise, just with the added bonus that his toys were getting cleaned as well. Hey, I’ll take an added benefit when I can! Today’s activity was super simple, but super fun for Zach.
I gathered together 2 bowls, a few garbage bags (to serve as a waterproof drop cloth), some dish soap, a few kinds of scrubbing and drying tools and some water. I asked Zach to take his bucket and gather up his cars. It was time to take them to the car wash.
To make it more than just a splash fest, I decided one bowl should be cold water and one should be warm. The warm one had the soap in it. I thought I might get myself a few seconds to talk about the senses before everything just got mixed up and tepid. So we talked about warm and cold. How the soap smelled. How the scrubbers felt. How the water sounded as it “sloshed” and “splashed”. It was a good effort on my part, LOL! Then it was just time to play.
Scrubbing and rinsing the blue car
Oh…pay no heed to dusty floors or toys on the floor in the background. Let that be the answer to your question, “But Erin. How do you manage to have time for all this??” And also, yes…Zach is wearing the same outfit as yesterday. That’s what happens when Daddy dresses him :). At least it was pretty much clean!
This activity kept him busy for about 30 minutes. And in toddler world, that might as well be 2 days. Then, he was in a much more civil mood afterward and was able to be a civilized person and hang out with Daddy the rest of the day. In fact, it got so quiet around here I wondered what was going on. I stepped outside to find this:
I'm just glad I was upstairs while he wielded the hose with delight!
I guess playing with water was the theme of the day!!
What was in it for Zach? Exploring his senses, as well as something to solve the boredom. I bet even kids need to feel productive!
What did Mommy learn? That water is close to a miracle worker in so many ways :). Bad behavior and tantrums aren’t always about being naughty, sometimes they are just from sheer boredom. And this was so easy to set up, I can see this buying me time to make dinner in the future :).