One of the things that I am always conscious of is ‘dead time’. Having the three children means that, inevitably, one of them is waiting for the other(s) to finish a group or similar. We seem to have the most dead time on a Friday at Gymnastics when Miss E does one class then Mr D does another. It’s a hard slog so I try to make the most of the time by having activities to hand for them to do.
Mr H is generally quite happy to play – I take books and a toy or two for him, or crayons and paper and he is mostly happy to occupy himself. He quite likes transferring things, so I often pack some plastic tubs and snap cubes for him to move around or build with. It occupies him a lot and of course is good for those developing motor skills.
One of the things that I do for Miss E and Mr D is to pack paper and pencils for them. Both of them have, in the last couple of months, really developed an interest in writing and drawing. Mr D loves writing out words he can spell and read, as well as writing out his times tables that he knows! We also make sure we have sheets from twinkl to hand – we have recently been doing lots of pencil control stuff (Miss E) and maths mosaics (Mr D). It can be hard though packing all the various bits and then remembering who chose which pens and pencils. Able Labels have recently solved this problem for us with some lovely personalised colouring pencils.
The children simply add their box of pencils into the bag and we have everything to hand – no arguments over which pencil belongs to who as their names are printed along the edge. We have also been taking these out when we have been out walking, in case we spot anything we want to sketch and add to our nature journals, but the weather has been wet or the children have soon got cold when they stop exploring so we haven’t made as much use of these as I would like outdoors yet. I am sure we will in the summer when the better weather is here. I like that the pencils are all contained in a small box (easy enought to pack into the bag) and also has a little pencil sharpener inside too!
Another block of dead time that we try to make the most of is when we are in the car. We don’t spend a huge amount of time in the car, but on a Wednesday we travel at a time when we often seem to hit traffic so we try to make the most of that time by singing songs. We either sing some of our Spanish songs or some of the Geography songs we are learning; we are a big fan of the songs from CC Happy Mom. I hope at some time in the future to have audio books going in the car for the children to listen to; I’ve just not got around to downloading any yet!
How do you utilize and make the most of the dead time?