Categories
play

Pillars to enhance play

From the Good News Network, “Science-Backed Tips for Maximizing Play Time With Kids“. Thankfully, I do try to incorporate all of these when playing with Fleur.

Photo by Mr. Beanbum on Pexels.com

Pillar One: Active

Stay “active” as you play and interact with your child, for example, by incorporating literary and STEM elements into your speech and interactions.

Zosh said this could mean counting the apples out loud as you put them in your basket at the grocery store or asking your child what letter each block starts with as you build a tower. She also said asking lots of questions — such as “What would happen if we mixed these blue and yellow paints together?” or “What might happen if we stack the red square block on top of the yellow triangle block?” — can be helpful, as well.

Pillar Two: Engaged

“Try to limit distractions as much as possible, including background television and your own smartphone use,” Hassinger-Das said. “These types of distractions are sometimes unavoidable, but they do have the potential to take away from these high-quality times with your child. Focusing and staying engaged during play can help you make the most of these interactions.”

Pillar Three: Meaningful

Try building on topics the child is already interested in during play. If they like dinosaurs, you could suggest a make-believe scenario where you dig for dinosaur fossils at the playground. Or, you can integrate information about dinosaurs like counting how many bones they have and what they ate.

“If you are reading a book set in a different state, get out a globe or a map app and explore where the state is and how the weather there is different from where you live,” Zosh said. “Helping children build connections helps them weave together a rich world of understanding.”

Pillar Four: Socially interactive

The researchers advised letting your child lead in play time while you offer support along the way. For example, let your child decide what to build with blocks while asking questions like, “What would happen if you placed that block in a different direction?” or “How many more blocks do you think it would take to build a tower as tall as you?”

Pillar Five: Iterative

Children are naturally scientific thinkers — they like to experiment, see what happens, and try again and again until something works. The researchers advised giving your children opportunities to guess what will happen, conduct “experiments,” make up new words to favorite songs, and make mistakes. Every mistake leads to learning.

Pillar Six: Joyful

Finally, making playtime joyful can be done in many ways, including incorporating elements of surprise.

“Playing with shadows and asking which one is bigger or how you can make your shadow grow or shrink is one way to foster surprise and joy,” Hassinger-Das said. “Similarly, think about what helps your child connect with whatever brings them joy, from construction with a cardboard box to playing vet with their stuffed animals.”

Categories
play

Fantasy-based pretend play

“Viking – Shield Maiden” by Danielle Pioli is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

From an article…

The study involved daily 15-minute play sessions across five weeks, in which a research assistant led 39 children aged three to five through a fantastical script, such as going to the moon. After the five week period, the pretend play kids showed greater gains in their ability to memorise lists of digits (a classic test of working memory, itself a core component of executive function) as compared with 32 age-matched children in a standard play condition, who spent their sessions singing songs and passing a ball around a circle.

The pretend play group also showed a bigger improvement on an executive function attention-shift task, which involved switching from sorting blocks by colour to shape. This result squeaked through thanks to the standard-play group’s scores actually creeping down over time as the pretend group scores crept up, but note that on its own terms, the pre-to-post change in pretend group performance wasn’t itself statistically significant. On a third executive function measure – “inhibition of responses” (children had to follow a tricky instruction to label a nighttime scene as day, and a daytime scene as night) – there was no effect of the pretend play.

Fantasy-based pretend play is beneficial to children’s mental abilities. Research Digest, the British Psychological Society

I am enjoying this playful period where Fleur tells me stories. Getting more into this kind of play excites me. It is what I remember doing a lot of as a child. And even as a teenager, I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons, even being a Dungeon Master most of the time for one group of friends.

Categories
play

Careful

Fleur is the adventurous type. She enjoys climbing, jumping, and scary situations.

For the most part, I have always encouraged her to push her boundaries within what I consider acceptable. Climb higher. Climb the arch ladder while holding her hips the first time but let her do it on her own subsequent ones. Jump off the 5 foot wall the 5 foot distance to catch her a couple feet off the ground. Throw her up into the air.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com

Momma cannot watch some of these antics. Mostly because her baby is in danger.

If I thought Fleur was really in danger, then I would encourage her to do something else. There is a risk. Throwing her up into the air means I could miss the catch. I am cognizant of the risk, but I accept it on our behalf.

The smile she has when successful is infectious. I hope evolutionary biology isn’t tricking me into letting her into unnecessary danger. It is a reward for me to see her happiness about having done the dangerous thing.

On the other hand, this confidence building feels very necessary. At the park, she was hesitant about the arch ladder. Protecting her the first time let her see it was possible. It expanded her worldview. She did it a dozen more climbs on her own. Because… she knew she could. I want her to feel like she can do anything.

This elephant parenting isn’t for the faint of heart.

Another thing is my language has changed over the past month or so. Instead of saying “be careful” so much, I am trying to get better about specifics. When she is walking on a curb, I will ask, “Do you feel stable?” Or when she is running, “Are you going the speed where you tend to trip?” or “Are there [roots or mud] for you to fall on?” The idea is to get her to consider the situation.

Categories
Parenting play

Potential vs kinetic energy

As the swing reaches its highest point it has all potential energy. When it reaches the lowest, it is all kinetic energy. As it moves up, the pull of gravity changes the kinetic into potential.

Fleur is full of potential energy. She breaks into converting it into kinetic energy at a whim. Usually it is predictable:

  • To get the cat
  • To go play on the playset
  • To pet a dog
  • To be chased
  • To get into the street

Tonight she caught me by surprise. After bath, she wanted to read the Pout-Pout Fish. And right before the kissy part she leaves the room and tells me to get up. I try to finish, but she is insistent. So, I do and she takes off. It was her favorite route in a circle.

Categories
Physics play

Coefficient of friction

One of the considerations for letting Fleur go slide is the pants she wears. Something I didn’t know before being a parent was different pants have different coefficients of friction.

The force required to move two sliding surfaces over each other, divided by the force holding them together. It is reduced once the motion has started.

theFREEdictionary
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And drag.

Every time I let her go with the slicker pants, I chide myself for not having made the better physics choice. She flies down the slide.

It is one of those designs with a bump in the middle. She can go so fast she gets enough air to land just before careening off the end.

With pants providing enough friction, she doesn’t get too much speed. And I don’t feel the need to be too vigilant.

Categories
Parenting play

Again

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ride a horsey, ride a horsey

Down to town. Woah little Fleur

Don’t faaaaaaaallllllll Doooooown.

Fleur loves it. Over and over and over. Again. Again. Again. She doesn’t have the word, but she will get in place and help you get ready to do it again.

It reminds me of the engineer who built a ballista for launching balls for his dog. As the parent, I tire of the game before she does. That is why I have a spouse!

Categories
Parenting play

Valkyrie cry

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Girls are princesses… and Knights by Danielle Pioli is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Fleur now has what I can only describe as a war cry. She lets out this piercing cry just before charging at someone. Usually, she does this towards the cat who flees in terror. (Puffed up tail.) When we play chase, she will use it on me.

She just needs a sword and shield and a bigger flail.