Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why is Play so important?

What types of play can you do with your child?

Infants - 2 yrs old

Infant Massage
Focus your baby's attention where they can hear, see, smell or touch interesting things during play time. Name and Call different things by their name, so that the child will learn them gradually. Make a game of picking up different things and naming them where the baby can see and hear you. Make sure you pause for a few impact minutes in between to allow the baby's brain to process this information. Depending upon the baby's age, they may even try to repeat the sounds back to you!
Remember to listen!

Practice making feeling faces at your baby! Give each face a feeling name. (Now don't scare the baby, use fun feelings first!)

Pat-a-cake and Peek-a-boo because baby's brains are just beginning their development they do not know when something is blocked from their vision, it still exists!
This is why they have such a good time as toddler's dropping things off of their high chair for you to pick up! They think it is magic everytime you put it back in front of them. Makes it much easier to play with your baby now, doesn't it.

Sing to your baby. They love to hear the sound of your voice and the tones and words will fascinate them as their brain is developing word and music skills. (Even babies right after birth can recognize their parents' voices from those of strangers!)

Focus your baby's attention where they can hear, see, smell or touch interesting things during play time. Name and Call different things by their name, so that the child will learn them gradually. Make a game of picking up different things and naming them where the baby can see and hear you. Make sure you pause for a few minutes in between to allow the baby's brain to process this information. Depending upon the baby's age, they may even try to repeat the sounds back to you!
Remember to listen!

Ages 2-5 yrs old

For small children Building blocks and Silhouettes are the best ways to start to play.

Ages 6-12 yrs old

Sometimes Teens and Adults enjoy this type of play also. Don't eliminate the possibilities however, do not force an older child to participate in these activities is they are adverse to them.

Play needs to be non-directive. The child needs room to communicate with you.
Sometimes this involves play that is just quiet with no noise. You can get your cues from your child. Remain quiet until the child begins to talk. Allow them to start the conversation. Asking questions may interrupt, or disturb your child's play.

If you need to talk then talk about what you are doing, why you are doing it, how you feel while you are doing it. Keep the focus on your own activities and yourself, not your child until they bring the focus to themselves.

Puppet Play allows children to express themselves comfortably through stories or role playing. Many times you will learn things about your child's feelings or life that you might not have come to know without having played with puppets. This is a very non-threatening way to play because the child can displace the responsibility for what is said onto the puppet. And so can you!

You can buy a variety of puppets or you can make your puppets. Puppets can be madeout of brown paper lunch bags. Simply use crayons, or water-based paints to create a puppet of your choice. Puppets can also be made out of socks. Simply take an old sock, some colored yarn, buttons or whatever else you choose and sew on the faces and hair to your puppet.

Be creative, your puppets can be uniquely yours as can your child's. What matters is playing with your puppet(s) and use them to express your feelings, emotions, role play, make up stories and have FUN!

Story Telling is best when you collaborate on a story. You and your child can make up a beggining, a middle and an ending. Notice how you both interact. Do you have a tendancy to want to tell your child how to make up a story?
Try and allow them to let their imagination work for them!

Collages are fun for just about any age, stage or situation. To make a collage all you need are scissors, glue, paper and lots of magazines. Take the magazines and cut out pictures, words, phrases or images to glue onto your own personal collage. You can do a collage by yourselves or you can work on a family collage together.

Collages can be about any celebration, situation, wishes, wants, fantasies, stories, or just about who your are! You can make collages about the past, the present and the future.
You can make a collage about what is happening in your life, what isn't happening in your life or what you want your life to look like!

HAVE FUN! And don't be surprised about what you learn about yourself or from your children!

Sand Trays are fun experiences. A sand tray takes about 6 cups of sterile sand, (best bought from the store), a container about the size of a shoe box is preferable or larger, lots of miniature plastic pieces, such as animals, people, objects, furniture, plants, animals, and your imagination.

Place the sand in the bottom of the box, then pick whatever miniatures appeal to you in the sand and make up a story. This can be very similar to the collages. Make up a story about what you like to do in your life, or how you feel right now. Arrange your sand tray to express your wants, desires, wishes, fantasies, life situations, what ever you would like to express.

Sand trays are another wonderful way for your child to express themselves. Remember to follow the instructions for non-directive play and again, HAVE FUN!

Art play brings the deepest feelings we have to a conscious awareness. Art can be done with a variety of tools. Paints, pencils, charcoal, crayons, pastels are among the many mediums used to express art. The all time favorites of children are finger paints, crayons and play dough. Art Play takes only your chosen art tool and a blank piece of paper.
Draw your feelings, your family, whatever you are thinking about or don't want to think about. Then share your story with your child and invite them to share their story with you! REMEMBER, not to critique your drawing nor that of your child. This isn't about being a famous artist, it is about having FUN!

IF YOUR ARE DISTRACTED.

For caregivers or parents who find this impossible to do, I suggest checking out Workaholics Anonymous Website and take the checklist test to determine if you
have a workaholic attitude towards life. www.workaholicsanonymous.org