Monday, November 17, 2008
a continuation of my posts on revamping the playroom...
A surprisingly great suggestion in the Child of Wonder book is to provide kids with plenty of flat surfaces for activities and play. The reasoning is that flat surfaces allow kids to set up projects and come back to them at a later time.
The idea is to encourage your kids to work on longer term projects - longer than a single play session. Doing so has many benefits:
* trains them to have a longer attention span
* teaches long-term goal setting
* defers the satisfaction of completion to a later time - conditioning them against instant-gratification
* allows them to complete more complicated projects than they would otherwise attempt
I think this suggestion is simple, yet subtly brilliant. It never occurred to me that I could help move HB toward more independent, longer term play simply by giving her some extra open surfaces. I'm the kind of person who likes to have things cleaned up, so I usually go through and put all the toys away every evening. I didn't realize that in doing so, I might actually be stifling some of her creativity. Now, we have a few surfaces designated as "don't clean up" where HB can leave things out as long as she wants. She knows that she can set things up and they will be there for her later.
There has been an unexpected side benefit of this set-up. Sometimes HB would resist going to bed when she was engrossed in playing with one of her toys. Now, she is perfectly happy to leave the toy on her table and go off to bed willingly. Somehow, knowing that the toy will be there for her in the morning is all she needs to stop playing and go to bed. Gotta love that!
Here are some suggestions the book gives for longer-term projects
* a large mural which can not be colored/painted in one sitting
* a big puzzle
* models, like large Lego structures, model airplanes, etc.
What other longer-term projects would be good for Toddlers? I would love to hear your suggestions. Please share in the comments!