With all the rain we’ve had recently there has been a lot of indoor play and I’ve noticed how fulfilling it can be to watch your children playing together. Of course, they play on the Wii and suchlike, but the most stimulating and nurturing play comes from their imagination. Hours are spent with cars, knights, dolls and dinosaurs as they conquer baddies, form a parade and deal with whatever (imaginary) life throws at them. Not only is this is joy to watch but it reminds me of how important it is for children to play.
We learned a bit about it on teacher training and I recall something about children who do not play early on can find it difficult to cope with social situations later. Acting out a variety of experiences and situations are key to dealing with the same things in ‘real life’. It allows the child to explore their emotions and those of others and facilitates the ability to negotiate and resolve problems and conflicts that arise. The land of make believe gives them a practice run at real life, a rehearsal for the joys and perils of the real world.
An example of this occurred recently in household. My son and daughter were playing cars and dolls (sounds like it should be a musical!) and as my son was ramming a small car with his monster truck my Eldest daughter, via the medium of a Barbie doll, went straight into role-play and berated him for picking on a car that was smaller than himself and came out with the classic line of ‘Cars have feelings too, you know!’. Barbie kicks butt and it is a lesson leaned for the truck and my son! I wait with baited-breath to see how this manifests itself next time his baby sister pulls his hair….
At home, said baby sister is happiest with a puzzle, the sandpit or alas, sometimes both at the same time! She is of an age where puzzles are THE thing and recently the penny dropped that you have to look at the shape and colour and not just try to ram any old piece in until you throw it across the room in temper. It’s a marvel to behold! As well as regular puzzles (the floor type are the best as they mean I absolutely can’t possibly hoover…) she loves a Noah’s Ark that her godmother bought her. It’s more of a shape-sorter where you have to post all the animals through the correct hole and just as I sneak off for a cuppa the cry of ‘Again, again!’ wafts through the air and I am thwarted!
Play also comes into the fore in the great outdoors. Over the weekend we were kite flying. It was the only day in recent weeks when there was no wind, but the moments the kite was air-borne were heralded as a triumph and we had great family fun in getting the darned thing up there! I often wish my garden was big enough for some sort of swing/slide/climbing ensemble. These things look fab and would surely abate the need to visit the park so much? I could set myself up with a cuppa and the Sunday papers whilst the kids run themselves ragged in the comfort of their own garden! Alas, not to be and we will make do with the sandpit and swingball.
Anyway, I must go. Littlest has just brought me a cup of wooden tea to drink and a cake. Might have to go and replace it with the real thing…..
Even a kitchenaid! Just like Mummy’s…..