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Showing posts from October, 2013

Pre-Writing: Story Building

My big boy, Jake is really into telling stories and making up tales. He does NOT like to attempt to write, though. He has trouble with his fine motor skills and if he cannot do something he does not want to try! Roaring Springs has these super Color Me Notebooks with pictured covers. You can color the pictures and the inside of the notebook is just lined paper. I saw these and got inspired. I knew that Jacob would love these and want to color right away. My idea was to use the cover as inspiration for writing a story. Jake saw this and jumped right in! He colored the front and named the story The Missing Shark and Turtle.
I convinced Jacob to write his name (getting there) and we started the story. I wrote what Jacob told me to write- exactly. I repeated it as I wrote then read it back to him after we finished that page. This process caused some editing on his part. (You can see those below.) After I finished writing a page he illustrated it.  I love that he was able to self edit his …

How to Teach Play- #4 What Should We Play?

What Should We Play?
Here are some examples to help you know what and how to play with your child. 
Note: These are example of my son and I playing together. In some cases it involves my second son as well, but teaching play is not done with a room full of childhood friends. That is valuable on its own, but it is something different and works best with older toddlers/children. Children learn a lot from each other.  You may find after spending time teaching your first or oldest child how to play they do the hard work for you for your subsequent children. My second son learned a lot from his big brother. I did have to sit down and help him with a few types of playing, like the farm, building with blocks and playing ball. 
Dramatic Play Examples: Fishing- Using Props Post Office 1 Post Office 2 Snow Plow Whole Town Play Puppets Tools  Farm Fishing Hanging Clothes on a Clothesline Train Ride Truck Driving Lion
Tent/Camping Construction- Building a House
Physical Play Examples: Raking Leaves Deep Sea Diving

How to Teach Play- #3 How Do I Teach Play?

How Do I Teach Play?
I believe that play is something children learn. They learn play by modeling during Onlooker Play. The modeling can be by siblings, parents or other children. Sometimes that modeling comes from life experiences for example; cooking in the kitchen, going to a Pick Your Own Produce farm, or taking a ride on a bus. Play can also be learned from direct modeling. This is when someone sits down and plays with them, showing the child exactly what to do without them noticing that is what you are doing.  
Think of a playing a board game with a small child- you cannot give them the game and expect them to play correctly. Reading the directions is usually not enough either. You must play the game with the child reminding them of the directions while playing. 
The same must be done with toys. Most parents think a toddler can pick up a toy and know how to play. That is just not the case. Take the Fisher Price Little People Barn. I have seen people give that to toddlers and wa…

How to Teach Play- #2 What Should We Expect from Our Children?

What Should We Expect from Our Children?
"Where are your kids? Playing? They are toddlers! I swear they could play for hours on their own. How can I get my kids to do that?"
This is something I have heard numerous times. Parents love their children but want them to be able to go play by themselves sometimes. It is a very important skill for numerous reasons but in the minds' of most parents the most important reason is a moment of piece and quiet! 
Children learn through play and then use play to occupy themselves. They should be able to play alone and with others. The goal for play is to get "Lost in Play." To be Lost in Play is when a child is so deeply playing he/she may not be able to hear you call their name- the world around them stops. This is when the real learning is happening and this is when true play is happening. When our children are lost in play they do not want to be disturbed. Calling them to dinner is the end of the world. It is usually not so…

How to Teach Play- #1 What is Play?

What is play? Play is THE most important thing children do! Children learn through play. If you want your children to learn, teach them through play. A toddler's job is playing, their days should be consumed by play. 
-OK, I get it! But what does play look like for a toddler?
There are many stages of play from infants cooing and kicking to children having extensive Lego cities. We categorize play to help with the understanding of the larger concept. The six categories were developed by Sociologist Mildred Parten. 
Stages of Play: 1. Unoccupied Play- This is the play of infants; kicking, cooing, swatting  2. Solo Play- When toddlers are playing by themselves 3. Onlooker Play- When a toddler watches others play and absorbs or learns from their play 4. Parallel Play- Playing in the same room with children side by side but not engaged in the same activity  5. Associative Play- Playing with the same toys as other children but not interacting with eachother 6. Cooperative Play- Playing …

Dramatic Play- Camping

The boys and I did a little at-home camping this week. Here is a picture of our set-up.

This wonderful day(s) of play all started after we received a package in the mail. Smart-Fab, a company that makes a cool fabric material that is strong and durable yet easy to cut, glue and paint. Smart-Fab sent us a sample of their product to allow us to get creative and have a little fun! 
I asked Jacob (4 years old) what we should make using the Smart-Fab product. Without a second thought Jacob said he wanted to make a tent. I thought it was an unusual idea to come from him because we have yet to go camping as a family and really have never talked about a tent or camping. But the big guy knew what he wanted to do and he wanted to do it that moment! We had to get creative with what we had around the house to make the tent. I kept it basic by stringing a rope from a tree to the fence and then laid the Smart-Fab over the rope. We also stuck the Smart-Fab to the ground using stakes. The stakes wen…

New Series: How to Teach Your Child to Play

I hear time and again that parents wish their children could play by themselves for an extended amount of time. Our new series will help you Teach your Child to Play.

In this Series we will address:
1. What is play?
2. What Should we Expect from our Children?
 3. How do I teach play?
 4. What should we play?