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Thursday, January 24, 2008

PLAY - Demystified

When I was a child, the only two words that was related to play was indoor and outdoor play. Nowadays, there is a confusing array of jargon involving the word play, such as Free Play, Dramatic Play, Manipulative Play etc., just to name a few.

What to these different types of play involve and how do you make sure your toddler gets her measure of these variety of PLAY?

Well, just read on and apply.

Free Play

Setting your kid loose at the playground or leaving her to raid the toy drawer at home gives her the freedom to choose what and how she wants to play.

Free play helps children learn to take charge of themselves and their time. It is a step towards Independence.

How to encourage Free Play.

* Set aside about 1/2 an hour a day for your child to be on her own devices .

* Give her access to a wide variety of toys and materials.

* Get involved by asking questions or participating in her play.

Dramatic Play

The act of simply pretending to speak into a toy phone and handing it over to your child to encourage her to follow suite is a form of dramatic play.

Through dramatic play, your child acquires an understanding of her environment and learn about social construct.

How to encourage Dramatic play

* Let your child take on the roles of her favourite characters such as Sleeping beauty , little red ridding hood etc.

* Re-enacting a chain of events or scenes from a storybook can be used as a means of allaying your child's fears. For eg., if your child is terrified of going to the dentist, you can role-play the dentist and she can pretend to be the patient. This way sure can give her the reassurance that she needs.

* Provision of props makes dramatic play even more exciting. Apart from buying toys, you can also recycle simple items such as ribbons and empty boxes etc. Remember that your kid should be allowed to play with the materials as creatively as she wishes. For eg. the box that is a house today can turn out to be a bridge tomorrow.

Manipulative Play

This type of play encourages your child to work her fingers and develop her fine motor skills. Provide materials which allow your child to mold with her hands.

Materials such as blocks, doughs sand and water encourage your child to get in touch with nature.

Creative opportunities during bath time for her to explore the properties of water by pouring it into different shapes and sizes.

Have fun with your child by building castles (not in the air) but in the sand.

Social Play

Solitary Play
Children aged between one and two typically play alone even when there are peers around. At this stage, they are occupied with the exploring and are still learning about cause and effect.

Parallel Play
Children above the age of two, become aware of what the other children are doing, but do not make a move to play together. Eventually children are drawn into cooperative activities.

Associative Play
Between 3 and 4 years of age, children begin to engage in associated play. They play in a loosely organised fashion. For eg., a child will act as a monster and start to chase her friend. While some of her friends may run away, there may be one or two who ignore her.

Cooperative Play

When children get together and play towards a common goal, they are engaging in cooperative play. This is where roles are assigned and each child as to play her part. Cooperative play requires negotiation, coordination and teamwork, which are among the social skills that should be harnessed in children. Examples of cooperative play include telematches and boardgames.

Each type of play has a distinct advantage and helps to mold your child into a creative and sociable child. So enjoy playing with your child!

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Anonymous Gina said...

Thanks, that was very informative and an interesting read. It's also reassuring that most parents who are interested in and engaged with their children seem to automatically provide them with these various kinds of play, isn't it? Finally psychologists are catching up with moms everywhere who have instinctively known what their children need--for generations we've been there with our children doing all the "on site" observation that researchers are only just now dabbling in.

January 26, 2008 at 2:07 AM  

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