Monday, May 23, 2011

Everyday play

Sometimes I wonder if I'm teaching my toddler daughter enough. Most days I feel like Olive and I do many of the same activities over and over again: read books, play at the park or build block towers, to name a few. Some of the activities don't even involve interaction with her, like when she's in the baby carrier on my back while I vacuum or dancing at my legs while I cook dinner.

To help me get more creative, I signed up for Productive Parenting emails that give me age-specific activities to do with my one-and-a-half-year old. I was a bit disappointed, but also relieved when I started receiving the activity recommendations--things like read a book, make a fort, put objects in a bucket--things I was already doing!

It helped me realize that children's activities don't have to be well thought out, formal or elaborate. They can be improvised and include exposing, explaining and allowing your child to have everyday experiences. They may include parent-child interaction, but also allow plenty of room for solo play. They allow your child to learn through doing.

Mama D, Mama Q and I saw this in action when we recently took our girls to a "discovery" museum, where they pretty much played in a kid-sized town for hours. Maya, Lucy and Olive were thrilled to play pretend, interact with or observe the other kids, and try new toys.


There really wasn't anything super fancy about the place--it was just a new setting with lots of objects for the girls to experience. For the most part, we mamas just sat back and watched, letting the girls' imaginations run wild. It was a good reminder that everyday play goes a long way and that it's simpler than many of us think to help our kiddos learn.


Brandon said...

I think we're going to have to get a season pass.

MamaQ said...

it really was fun, wasn't it? and very simple - just mini versions of every day items, really. i loved the farm to store section - wonderful to teach our children about where food really comes from!