Play is such a wonderful thing. Play to a child is like work to an adult. It is serious, it is important and it is highly valued. As parents with ‘real’ jobs and ‘real’ responsibilities it can be easy to overlook just how significant play is to a child. While we go to sleep at night thinking about our busy day ahead, cooking, cleaning, getting to work, completing tasks, meeting deadlines, you can be sure that children have just as many thoughts: what am I going to build? Will I be able to master that skill? What am I going to do if somebody takes my toys? Where am I going to take my dolly for a walk in her pram? And the list goes on.
There is no shortage of research that supports the importance of play for children. It helps develop their learning, their creativity, their problem solving and their perseverance whilst at the same time providing them with a sense of accomplishment, joy and fun. I love watching my children play and noting the different angles at which they approach play objects and tasks. I can genuinely see learning taking place on a daily basis and I love that they are in charge of what they learn, when they learn it, and how they learn it. My second job (after being a mother) is a teacher and it has taken me some time to separate my role as a teacher from that as a mother but I have now become more accepting that my children at ages 1 and 2 years don’t need to be taught explicitly. They have an innate desire to seek out learning experiences and are learning the perfect amount for their individual age and stage. I simply try my best to offer experiences and opportunities for learning, through which I hope that they not only develop the aforementioned qualities but also a love of learning and an inquiring mind.
Having said all that, here are a few snapshots of what the girls got up to this week. We had fewer ‘new’ invitations this week as the girls were happily revisiting ones from last week such as the dirt pit as well as creating their own play experiences 🙂
This fabulous arrangement of plants in a garden outside the church we take the girls to for music, provided them with so much fun and excitement that they happily played for ages; exploring, chasing each other and using problem solving to work out how to get back to each other when they ended up split between the rows.
Who doesn’t love sidewalk chalks? It writes so easily, is vibrant and is so powdery and textural that children are drawn in by them. We love to play on our front footpath in the afternoon. The neighbours children often join us and the kids love meeting and greeting the neighbourhood walkers that stride past our house each afternoon. This week I brought out the sidewalk chalk for them to use to brighten up the footpath. Penny was so taken by them that she settled herself into a comfortable position on the footpath and proceded to draw, place the chalk sticks in and out of the tin, explore the powdery consistency by rubbing her drawings after she had drawn a line.
I came across this little table in a local op shop and immediately thought of the possibilities for the children and with its overly cheap price tag it didn’t take much to convince me to buy it. It was an instant hit and has been used regularly all week as a drawing table, a step to get up on the higher table, a platform to jump off and a table to eat from. I love seeing my daughters bonding, learning to share, cooperating and negotiating over this versatile table.
Despite being in the middle of winter here, we have been enjoying some unusually warm weather this week. Now, our car used to be my husband’s pride and joy but with the arrival of two children in quick succession not only has the car been relegated from the garage to the driveway to make way for a childrens play room, it has gone from having a weekly clean to a biannual clean!! This week it was bath time for the car and the kids had so much fun helping us do it that I think the poor old car might get some attention a little more often now. The girls love to be helpful and this gave them a fantastic outlet to play in water and bubbles whilst utilising a gross motor skill and feeling authentically useful. The only minor issue we encountered was that Lucy continually wanted to tip the water out to watch it run down the driveway. 🙂
This was one of the few invitations I set up this week. Not only was there limited time to set them up, I found that the girls seemed happy to find their own play ideas especially as the weather was so good and we could get outside. The girls really enjoyed this little pouring activity though. Lucy has just started asking to pour her own milk and drink from a cup without a sippy lid etc. so I wanted to tap into this interest and I thought this might help build her confidence in this area at the same time. She really enjoyed the funnels although it did take her a while to work out what they did. She would pour the water into it and then suddenly realise that it was coming out the bottom into nothing. We went through a few containers of water before she made the connection.
I simplified the invitation for Penny and found that she was initially more interested in the cups themselves and placing them on and off the tray. She had a few attempts at pouring the water into the cup but kept tipping the empty cup up and leaving the full one down. Lots of spilling but I loved watching her brain tick over as she tried to work why it wasn’t working.
So that was a snippet of our week. I hope you had a lovely week with your children and as always I would love to hear from you or answer any questions you may have.