children and play

March & Play to a Different Beat: Respect Differences in How Children Play

Kids, like adults, can march to a different beat, and play to a different one too; it’s important to respect differences in how children play.respect differences in how children play

Play is not the same for all children. Parents only need to have two kids to see the tremendous differences there can be from one child to the other. While all children love to move, some are far more active than others. These kids seem to be constantly on the run, jump, or hop. Some children talk far earlier than others. During their play, kids kids talk to the stuffies and toys and pretend to be their voices. Favorite toys might be a pretend telephone, or a real one whenever they see it around! Hands-on is the interaction of choice for many children. Blocks and construction toys of all sorts lurk on the floor for unsuspecting adult feet. In this case, it’s not marching to a different beat but limping.block and construction play

While there may be some general similarities for the ways girls play as opposed to the ways boys play, there are vast differences for children of the same gender. Many girls engage in building with blocks, rough-housing, and zooming cars and trains around a track. By the same token, many boys will play with dolls and kitchens. Just as many boys as girls have baby brothers and sisters, so caring for younger family members is common for both. Girls and boys can snuggle a doll, take it for a walk in the stroller, give it a bottle, and tell it not to cry. These are natural activities and show how we care for each other. Boys can ask for an easy-bake-oven and girls can want a science kit.boy playing dolls gender equality

When we respect differences in how children play we are respecting children themselves. Kids can march to a different beat in what they want to eat, how they dress, the books they like, and the way they play. How will your child choose to play today?

 

Child’s Play Helps Discover New Planets

Child’s play helps discover new planets? Well, that’s a bit of a stretch but what we do as adults often grows from how we loved to play as kids. Many of the scientists at NASA were fascinated by space as children and on a radio show, one of them was quoted as saying she has been intrigued with searching for new planets since an early age.

planets child art play

February is friends and heart month. Following a passion is following your heart. Did you have an interest or a favorite way to play as a child that gave clues about what you are doing today? Of course, child’s play has been a lifelong interest of mine. Being a kindergarten teacher means being able to play at work. On the blog, I’ve included many posts about careers adults choose and the clues we find when we look at their play. This excerpt is from the post Child’s PlayReaches to Outer Space from a couple of years back:

Astronaut Chris Hadfield adventured far beyond Earth to the International Space Station Endeavour. He played the guitar and sang the first song ever recorded in space. He was inspired at the age of nine as he watched Apollo landing on the Moon, but his interest in flying began much earlier than that. Along with others written about in this series, an artist that drew on the wall about the age of 2, a nurse that played with Dr. Barbie, a mathematician that enjoyed numbers, a designer that always liked to draw, a scientist that took apart her toys and dolls, a crafter who created and sold products to her childhood friends, and a chef who wanted an Easy-Bake oven as a young boy, Chris Hadfield extended his play to a career. How can we so trivialize children’s play when time and time again, we hear stories like these?

Lego space playThe question is even more relevant with the discovery of these seven exoplanets. In a way, the curiosity to explore and the drive to discover are the fuel of play. We see from the time they are wee babies,  the immense hunger young children have to find out all they can about the world. They do this each and every time they play. That’s how we can say child’s play helps discover new planets.star wars science fun for kids

Although we mean well, we cannot fill our children’s days with activities that we plan and organize for them. We must give kids time and space for unstructured play and trust them to direct it. When we do, could we say the results are out of this world?

For Kids the Best Valentine is Together Play Time

To a child, love is spelled T.I.M. E. For kids, the best valentine is together play time. Today’s play-of-the-day is suggestions for doing just that.

best valentine is together play time

At the very start of the day, even before breakfast, how about a pajama snuggle. If the day isn’t too rushed, instead of a bedtime story, find a favorite book for a wake-up story. Once in the kitchen, is there a way to do some cooking together? Kids can sprinkle a few red berries on cereal for everyone, or make a yogurt and granola surprise to put on the breakfast table.

best valentine is together play time

Find all the red tools to draw with. These can be crayons, markers, ballpoint pens, pencil crayons, and whatever else you may have. Set out a big piece of paper and let each person draw and color. Even if everybody is doing something different, the various red colors will show up all over the paper and it will look connected.

drawing fun for kids

Dress for the weather and spend some time outside. This could be as simple as a walk, or some time in a neighborhood playground or kicking a ball in the yard. A local park is another possibility for some outside together play time.

family walk around the block

Got any puzzles with lots of pieces? Putting a puzzle together is another together activity. If there isn’t enough room for everybody around the table, spread the pieces and the bodies out on the floor for more space.

puzzle fun

Speaking of the floor, can you push some of the furniture out of the way and clear a space for dancing? Maybe each person could choose a favorite song to dance to. Try a dance moves video for more movin’ and groovin’ play. Add voices to the fun by singing too.

dancing&learningThese are only a few suggestions for ways to play. Hopefully, they will inspire some ideas for your family. The best valentine is together play time. Do you know some other activities?
Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

New Year’s Resolutions: U = USE Non-Toys for Children’s Play

Kids impress us with their creativity and flexibility, especially in how to use non-toys for children’s play. So good, it happens almost daily! Have you had to search all over the house and car for something a little one was playing with? Like the keys or your phone? Kids play with almost anything. What appeals … Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions: U = USE Non-Toys for Children’s Play

T = Trust: Parents, Educators Need to Trust and Let Kids Play

This post was inspired by play-expert Jeff A. Johnson at Explorations Early Learning. The message is parents, educators need to trust and let kids play. It seems parenting and teaching are balancing acts. There’s so much we would like to do for kids, but at the same time we have to let them learn for … Continue reading T = Trust: Parents, Educators Need to Trust and Let Kids Play

Kids Need Different Kinds of Play: What kind does your child need?

Children follow a similar path of developmental milestones; just like adults have different jobs, kids need different kinds of play. What does yours need? Being sensitive to children’s needs means recognizing some kids need vigorous outside play, some miss the social aspect of daycare or preschool and would like a friend to play with, and … Continue reading Kids Need Different Kinds of Play: What kind does your child need?

After Christmas –  The Best Gift for Kids is PLAY

The day after Christmas comes without the celebration but, without doubt, the most wonderful present of all because the best gift for kids is play. Hasn’t that been the reason for giving them new toys and adventures, to encourage and extend their play? So today’s play-of-the-day is do that, to play. Sometimes, the adults are … Continue reading After Christmas –  The Best Gift for Kids is PLAY

The Story of the Last Playground

To kids, playgrounds are treasure, and the story of the last playground brings this message to our ears, our eyes, and our hearts. Children have been terribly affected by the war in Syria. Their schools and playgrounds have been bombed out of existence. The children are hungry, sick, and terrified. As they look around them, … Continue reading The Story of the Last Playground