Or, how to be a lazy, yet effective mother of a toddler. When all you want to do is sit on your posterior and lounge while watching your toddler happily engrossed in play, get one of those under-the-bed storage bins (with a top that latches closed - more on this later) and head to Costco for a large bag of beans. Pour in the beans, situate the tub on top of some towels, put in some scoops, and sit back. Relax. Don't worry about the beans all over the floor. (Put the tub on the porch or outside.) The bean clean-up fairy will arrive later, with his magic broom wand and his "I'm-the-Daddy-and-I'm-not-physically pregnant-energy".
Aside from a pile of children's books beside you on the couch, the bean tub is a must for the pregnant mother of a toddler. I actually got the idea from my brilliant neighbor, who has a mondo bean tub for her girls. Who doesn't love slipping their hands into a barrel of beans? It's a sensorial experience par excellence.
Surprisingly, most of the beans didn't end up flung around the floor. Finn spends a good deal of time in the tub simply burying his feet, or picking up one kidney bean at a time and placing it in a small container. Pincer grip practice (the Montessorian in me quivers with excitement!)
I do have a few caveats to pass on, though. First, make sure your little one is past the putting-everything-in-the-mouth phase. Finn got over that a while ago, and it's opened up a whole new frontier as far as activities are concerned. Next, make sure you can COVER your bean tub. If not, you might have a lovable yet small-brained cat who will consider the tub to be a sort of luxury litter box. Harumph. Back to Costco for more beans.