Thursday, February 25, 2010
Play Time revisited!
Everyone likes to play. Adults, children, moms, dads, teenagers, grandparents... everyone plays something. We play videogames, boardgames, cards. We play sports- hockey, volleyball, golf... In college, we played drinking games. As parents in a car, we play "I Spy". We play along with the Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune. America is tops in the world of "Reality" play- Whose gonna win the race, which bachelorette will get the rose?....
Living in a society of such a playful focus, it surprises me how difficult it is to find adults that actually PLAY with children. "Go Play". "Find something to play with!", busy parents mutter as they try to finish household tasks. If they would only realize that many times those basic home chores could be completed with a song and a game involving their child. This would free up time to actually PLAY together.
One of the blogs I follow (To the Max) along with Team Inspire- a networking website for Special Needs is sponsoring a discussion and give-away contest focused on activities and play for children. What a great topic! I know I get on a soapbox on this subject, given my thesis of learning through play, but don't you agree that it be great if everyone took a moment to have some fun, create, sing, and get involved with an activity for the sake of a child?
At Roa's ECFE class two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining the children during playtime instead of exiting for the Parent group component of the class. It is a room of 10 toddlers and two teacher assistants. The assistance do a nice job of keeping the kids safe, getting down toys from shelves, blowing bubbles, and comforting those who miss their mommies. But, as I sat in the block area rolling cars down a mountain.... VROOMMM and CRASH!.... Bane and Chandler squealed with joy as I actively joined in the play. They watch intently as I help Roa grasp a toy bus and move it through the tunnel with "The Wheels on the Bus" as the soundtrack I provide. Meanwhile, the teacher assistants looked at me like I'm cracked!
I have always loved to play with little ones. Love watching their eyes light up with new discoveries.
Have we as adults lost that ability to make learning fun? Are we embarrassed to be caught in a childish game? Are we just there to provide the new toy, set up a playroom, and go about our own business?
My Roa could not have accomplished the goals we have worked diligiently on without the playful approach of Mom and Dad, family, and many of his therapists. When trying to introduce a task without a play approach, Roa rebels! We create homemade toys, we make up songs to go with tasks, we play I SPY as we stretch and move in new positions. Putting a toy in front of him is simply not enough.
But, isn't that true for every child?
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