Ed and I were out all day yesterday, catching up with friends, and so play needed to wait untl well after school. But, determined to follow through on my quest to set up a play experience for Ed everyday this week, I got a few things out just as I was about to prepare dinner.
Our dining room adjoins our kitchen, so the kids love to set up something for themselves to do at the dining room table while I cook. They can be busy and I can be busy, but we can still talk to each other and be together.
Last night I got some paper and crayons out for Ed and some transport stencils I bought from the supermarket. He has used these stencils before and really enjoys them, but he usually uses textas.I thought I would make the experience slightly different this time by adding crayons instead. Changing drawing implements like this allows your child to use difefrent skills. They need to hold the implement differently, apply different amounts of pressure and renegoiate a task that they are familiar with. These things work fine motor skills and cognitive skills.
While I was getting things organised last night, I discovered an extra bonus of my quest to set things up for Ed this week. It's something that I hadn't really reflected on, but is probably the most developmentally beneficial learning point of all. As I said to Ed, "I'm going to set something up for you to do, come and sit up here", his face lit up with excitement and his sister moaned "Oh, can you set something up for me too?"
As I got them both set up and made my way to the kitchen to start preparing dinner, I replayed what had just happened over in my head and realised how affirming it is for the kids when I take the time to set something up for them. It sends such a powerful message of "I value you, you are important to me and I want you to grow and develop and pursue your interests and creativity". What a wonderful boost to their self-esteem.