“Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects us to people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates our emotions, and boosts our ego.” (Landreth, 2002)
“Birds Fly. Fish Swim. Children Play.” –Gary Landreth
- Real-Life: Dolls, bottles, doctor kit, phone, dollhouse, family figures, play money, cars, kitchen utensils, a variety of animals, doctor kit
- Aggressive: dart guns, rubber bendy knife, rope, animals, soldiers, bop bag, mask
- Emotional Expression: playdough, crayons, paper, scissors, tape, egg carton, deck of cards, soft foam ball, balloons, magic wand
- I think it is also helpful, though not essential, to have a medium of play, such as a large pan or sensory table of sand, beans, or water to hide, bury or build.
|Shelves: 3 books, 3 animals, paper, markers, crayons, scissors|
Boxes: musical instuments, baby supplies, kitchen supplies
|Kitchen, light table, play space|
Shelves: blocks, light table supplies, puzzle
|This is "behind the scenes" in the above picutres (LOL)|
Addi orchestrated a morning meeting with animals, books & letters
- Body language conveys strong messages, so our body should be facing our child.
- Tracking our children’s play it is a way to let them know we’re present, paying attention, and interested without leading or making suggestions: “you’re stacking those up,” “you’ve decided to put that there.” “you’re thinking about what you want to do next.” When Addi is playing I don’t usually name an object unless she has given it a name. For example, if she’s playing with blocks I don’t call them blocks unless she does - a square block might represent an airplane or a bed. So I just follow her lead.
|Addi invited her Dad to play...he's in "jail"|
- Similar to tracking is reflecting our child’s feelings. Reflecting helps our children feel understood and communicates our acceptance of the many feelings they experience no matter how big the feelings. This teaching of emotional intelligence gives children the words they need to recognize and accept their feelings and release them in behaviorally appropriate ways: “you’re excited you got that open,” “You’re sad grammy left,” “you’re angry about losing the game.” The key is to remember that all feelings are acceptable; behaviors sometimes need limits.
- Which brings us to the importance of appropriate limit-setting. No one can play freely if they are first bombarded with a bunch of rules to follow, so it’s important to hold off on stating limits until the moment they are needed. Limits are stated in ways to give children responsibility for their own actions and behaviors: “I know you want to pour water on the baby, but the baby is not for pouring water on. You can pour water on the bush or in the sensory table.” Or “I know you want to throw the jar, but the jar is not for throwing. You can throw the pillow or the ball.” It is equally important to only impose limits necessary to keep everyone safe and the toys intact. Some toys may be okay for destruction (common destructive toys are army men, egg cartons, paper and balloons) – everyone’s threshold for this is different, so you will have to decide what’s right for your family. Be consistent, and remember it’s okay to change your mind, just let your kids know “I made a mistake. I thought I would be okay with you breaking that, but now I’m not okay with it. Let’s play with that gently. You can destroy the egg carton or tear paper instead.”
|Addi loves to paint on herself.|
We have established that sharpies are for paper.