Right now my daughter is taking a nap. She is still a little jet lagged from our recent England trip and is trying to sleep it off.
Whenever my girl is asleep I start to create activity stations ready for when she is awake. This is the same thing that I did when working as a teacher and as a early childhood educator.
Play is so important. To all of us, not just to children. Think about the first thing that you do when you get a new phone or camera or some other piece of equipment: you play!
Children are able to self direct their play based upon whatever area of their brain they happen to be developing at the time. For my daughter’s part she is currently examine the relationships between objects as she is going through her fifth wonderleap. Therefore her current favourite toys are construction toys that I build and she can demolish and cause and effect activities, for example painting.
When a child directs their own play they are more motivated by the activity, engage with it on a deeper level and they therefore create stronger brain synapse connections.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t set out some play activities though. Often children need to be enticed by the activity to engage with it. They are more tempted by things that they can see and that look fun versus those things hidden away in boxes.
I take my lead from the children’s interests – either from the things that they say or from the way that I see them interact with the things around them.
I like to cover certain basic areas of learning: role play, music, construction, small world play, literacy, numeracy, knowledge and understanding of the world, gross and fine motor skills, art, sensory activities amongst other activities.
I also like to cover other basic skills, things like the prerequisite skills to learning and schematic understanding of the world.
Here are some of the things that I have set up in the playroom (please note that we co sleep and the crib serves as another play area vs a bed at this time):
Later on, once she has had her fill of exploration, Iris will go back to sleep and these activities will be changed around. The ones she really enjoyed will be kept and the ones that she didn’t engage with as much will be changed.
Which one is your favourite?