Monthly Archives: September 2014

Ideas for creating shared play times.

Getting an idea of what a child really likes can take a bit more time that you think to begin with. Parents are brilliant at knowing their child engages easily with TV programs, YouTube clips, computer games, Bob the Builder, trains etc. This is really useful information but the child has usually already developed ways of playing with these things on their own they are good at them and may not want to change!

But if we spend a bit of time thinking it through we can get the idea of what is working for the child. Do they like clear bright colours, things with wheels, things that move or make a noise in a predictable sequence? Do they like simple repetitive tunes or songs, stories that have a clear beginning, middle and end or is it when something explodes on the screen that they laugh a sure sign that a child likes a game with a big finale! Try and work out what it is about the things a child finds appealing that are creating the attraction.

When I am thinking this through I try and keep a note in my head is this a child who likes big exciting games or perhaps one that likes detail and precision would they like water and messy play or would they prefer dry things Perhaps I could try building a very high tower of paper cups to knock down or would they like watching a coloured ice cube melt in the bath.

It takes courage to risk new things and try to play in different ways but try and move away from the idea of playing with toys that are sold in shops such as farms, cars, posting boxes or puzzles as these rely on imagination and perhaps have limited ways they can be used. They are great in their way but we need to think differently and add some great shared engagement you could always start by freezing an ice cube tray of water with food colouring added and see what your child thinks when you put them in the bath you could put them in bowl you could put them on a tray at the table you could let them melt in your hand or on a bit of kitchen towel what are you going to try?

Bath-times = playtimes?

Bath time can be a great place to play if your child likes water. Pouring water is a game that has endless appeal for small children just watch them on the beach filling buckets, pouring water onto the sand and then starting all over again!

Perhaps you could try adding a couple of plastic water bottles and 2 cups to your child’s bath and play filling and pouring together. Try not to get into telling them what to do but play as well, water poured slowly, water poured fast, water poured from a great splashy height or trickled through your fingers onto your child’s hand.

It is your fun in playing and accepting ‘water pouring is great’ that could be the start of a shared activity.

It is important to keep it simple though, don’t clutter up the bath or add bubbles, soap, boats etc all at once. These things could come later once the joy of pouring is discovered and explored then adding bubbles creates a whole new set of possibilities there are lots of bath times available so lots of times to play the game. Perhaps you could try adding a drop of food colouring to the bottom of one of the bottles so the water changes colour as the bottle is filled after all 2 or 3 drops of food colouring is not going to stain your child or your bath and is is such fascinating good fun!

Have you got a couple of bottles you could use in the bath tonight ?