It's a simple idea, but one that helped to keep me and our children sane and happy through some of the young growing-up years. Our first three children were born in under two and a half years, so home was pretty busy for a while there. (When our eldest was four, I also looked after three other children each day, making six children aged four and under altogether.) Special Time was kind of how we coped and had fun along the way.
Special Time! :)
After breakfast I usually had a couple of hours to get all my jobs done, in time to then spend a couple of hours each morning, from about 10am - midday, just playing with the children. They knew I needed to get things done so that we could have Special Time, so they were willing to play happily while they waited for me to finish. We didn't have a television or video player back then (although we usually had on some music to enjoy or dance along to). If we had we might have watched Playschool or Sesame St. Instead, I tried to create our own fun learning time.
Every morning I would have to come up with a different activity. From 10am - midday we might do any of the following: bubble painting, string painting, water painting, finger-painting, cutting out and making a collage, collecting leaves and 'rubbing' them on to sheets of paper, using fabric off-cuts to make pictures that we would glue with home-made paste, cooking, making salt-dough jewelry, making and playing with play-dough, making cubby houses under the dining table or other furniture, setting up a shop/obstacle course/ dolls' hospital/ school, making and playing home-made instruments, making paper mache, putting on a play, etc, etc, etc, etc. We painted eggs, did crayon rubbings, made pipe-cleaner animals and potato stamps, and learned how to enjoy one another. If we could afford it I might do something like emptying a can or two of shaving cream into a kiddie's play pool and add food colouring for the children to paint themselves. Mostly we didn't have too much money to spare, but most things didn't need it.
After we had cleaned up from the morning fun, it was lunchtime, then nap-time, then bath-time, then dinner-time and Daddy-come-home time and story-time and bed-time. And there went the day! Happily, for the most part :)
And our kitchen cupboards were covered in art work that the children loved to see on display, and that I loved to see too :)