This is completely deliberate. I think child's play is and should be a child's domain and too much involvement by grown-ups can actually remove a lot of the benefits play can provide.
Don't get me wrong, I always keep an ear out to hear how they're playing and I think a lot about what they play with and how they might use it. I also 'check-in' often to ask about what they're doing and offer help and suggestions if it's needed. I guess I try to inspire play and help the kids to build on their own ideas. I think it's really important for their problem-solving, imagination, creativity and ultimately their self-esteem
A great example of this happened on the weekend. The children were busy building with some 'mobilo' close to the kitchen where I was preparing dinner.
Em came up to show me some of what she'd been doing. She had made a perfectly working see-saw. Always keen to extend on what they're doing, I said to her "that would make a great see-saw for one of your 'Littlest Pet Shop' toys, wouldn't it". "Yeah" she yelled and ran back to where she was working to share this new information. "Ed", she said "my 'Littlest Pet Shops' could fit in this see-saw and in all these other things we made". "We could make Littlest-Pet-Shop-Town" he said.
So, they set about it with a new purpose to their building and an extra dimension to their play.
This idea turned a couple of hours of building into an imaginative play game that grew and evolved and blossomed for the whole weekend, giving so many areas a developmental work out. The kids were building on many, many skills including:
- problem solving
- fine motor skills
- eye-hand co-ordination
- language skills
- story-building/literacy skills
I'm still not allowed to pack it up today
Come over and play at the 'Childhood 101' 'We Play' link up