Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Can I Play?" An AHA! Moment

My son is at the age where his play is inventive. He's a "set-up" kind of player. I'm sure you've seen one or two of these throughout your career. These are the kids that take their time setting up scenarios (building an elaborate structure with blocks that become a zoo for their animals, setting up train tracks that include missing pieces so the trains face imminent danger, etc.). Check out this set up from the other day.  He's got a train station and crane (being handled by Captain Hook and his twin brother) on top and a gold mine on the bottom, but going up instead of it's usual down.

I wish I had gotten a picture of yesterday's train tracks/post office being attacked by a light up frog when Spiderman comes to save the day!  He tends to be so focused on the set-up that when he is playing, I usually take that time to read emails, Check out Facebook, and even write blog posts.  Yesterday I started feeling guilty that I had been spending so much time on the computer that I turned it off and said "Can I play?"

"Can I play?" Three simple words can have a huge impact on your child!  I can remember telling parents about the importance of play during my days of early intervention.  So why, as a parent myself, have I forgotten how important being involved in your child's play really is?  Anyway, you should have seen the look on his face when I asked if I could play with him...Bright eyes, huge smile and "Of course you can!"  I got down on the floor and grabbed a train (trains are involved in pretty much every type of play at my house).  We played for a while - adding characters, changing the set up, creating problems and solutions.  We had lots of fun and, I like to think, worked on some cognitive and linguistic skills as well (problem solving, pragmatics, etc.).  

The moment I saw the look on Matthew's face when I asked him those three simple words, "Can I play?," was an AHA! moment for me.  I wanted to share this post with you as a gentle reminder to ask your kids if you can join their play every once in a while.  Get down on the floor and get involved in the play! I promise your child won't be the only one who enjoys it!

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