Friday, January 28, 2011

Now That's Quality Play!

Wednesday after work Little One and I attended a meeting with a group of fellow Early Childhood Educators. I told her it was a party -- I tell her everything's a party because well, everything is.

To get ready, she packed up two of her puffiest play dresses and stuffed them in a bag. Next, she found two headbands (the kind with the sparkly antennas sticking out the top) and stuffed them in the bag. When she had enough play clothes to go around (she wanted no child to go without), we hopped into the car.

She was excited to meet everybody; she was a little shy and silly at first. We've never known her to be shy, but as a child leaves the toddler/young preschooler stage (she's almost 3.5, yikes!) and begins to develop empathy and an awareness of others, they become very aware of their surroundings and the people around. Little One got shy and hid behind my leg and then did funny things like stick her tongue out. As she got more brave, she would show off her dance moves ... and then run behind me to hide. Once she got settled and comfortable, out came the dress up clothes and she got right into playing.

She was happily stacking dominoes when our meeting began but, within minutes was inviting me to the middle of the living room to dance with her. I tried directing her attention to some 'quiet' activities (at some point in my parenting career, I developed a fear of my child making 'noise'). It was quite a refreshing when the host went into the kitchen and returned with a stack of metal bowls, wooden spoons and a dump truck load of dried beans.

Here is how she spent the next hour and a half...


Their baking is heating up in the oven...


It was noisy, it was messy and they played and played and played in those beans for an hour and a half. They cooked muffins, put them in the oven, chatted back and forth, filled and poured, problem solved, shared all the tools and materials, and shared ideas, excitement and laughter.

As a parting gift he sent us home with a bucket full of beans. You can guess what was in our sensory table the next morning!

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