My two boys couldn't be more different in terms of their energy levels; Owen operates at Tigger speed most of the time, whereas Luke is more of an Eeyore kind of kid.
Since I tend towards Eeyore myself, especially before noon, it can be quite a challenge to satisfy Owen's need for activity, balanced with Luke's need for peace and quiet - and my need for this, too.
We've figured out a way that, most days, keeps everyone happy. We have the luxury of coming up with our own schedule almost every weekday, so most mornings, while Luke wants to read and I'm still bleary, we break out manipulatives for Owen. His favorites are:
- Play dough, with cookie cutters, scissors, rolling pins, popsicle sticks, Mr. Potato Head pieces...
- Goop - one part water to two parts cornstarch, hand-mixed; we add more of one or the other to change the consistency. This stuff is addicting!
- Scissors and glue, along with construction paper for cutting and gluing
- A shallow pan full of mixed beans, scoops, and little action figures. While I hemmed and hawed about using beans for play instead of food, we've kept these same beans for more than 5 years, with good hand-washing afterwards - they are good fun and, like goop, addicting because they feel so good in your hands.
Long about 11 or so, we eat because Owen has exhausted whatever morning activity we came up with. Then, after lunch when Luke and I are more or less 'ready for the day,' we do something more active. This can range from a couple solid hours of outside play, to a library or indoor park day trip or play date, to chores or active games like Hullabaloo, or just dancing to fun, favorite tunes.
Usually, several hours' active fun will get Owen to a quieter place, allowing Luke and I to read, write, and play word or math-type games while Owen looks at books or plays with toys.
My favorite part of this little routine is, Luke enjoys the more active stuff and the manipulatives as much as Owen enjoys the books, games, and quieter parts of our day - the trick is to catch them both at their best moments.
I think they are the better for learning to accommodate each others' needs - and from being exposed to activities to which they might not naturally be drawn. They are really each others' perfect complement.