Today, I had some time alone with my one-year old son. His big sister was out feeding the ducks with her Grandma and Great-Great Aunt. I don't have much time to play alone with my littlest one which is kind of sad for me. I feel bad that he is often neglected of the one-on-one time because he is the second child. So, rather that feel bad about it, I try to make the most of the one-on-one time when we do get it. I got out a few supplies to allow him to explore various textures. He was immediately drawn to the pipe cleaners. He didn't want anything to do with anything else - just the pipe cleaners.
He had so much fun feeling the fuzziness of the stems, banging them together and on the table, twisting them, and throwing them. We played together with these for an extended period of time. He had so much fun.
Later, I pulled them out again when I needed to load the dishwasher. He sat in his booster playing independently at the table with the pipe cleaners while I got the entire dishwasher loaded. That never happens! I never would have thought that he would have so much fun with such a simple activity but he sure did. I guess I needed the reminder to keep it simple. The best learning happens in those simple moments when children are just allowed to explore.