Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21 - The Director

                “Mama, you’re the baby.  Baby’s say, ‘Ga, ga, goo, chew.’ You need to learn to talk, baby, you don’t talk very well.”  - Elli this evening

                 Play allows the child to be the director.  Recently I’ve noticed Nate and Elli creating a running narrative to accompany their play.  This narrative seems to serve two purposes.  It keeps the story going and it serves to let their playmate know what they should be doing.  There’s often a switching easily between giving directions and narration.  

                Sometimes this narrative mimics real life and others it seems to simply come out of their imaginations.  Either way it is very real to them at that moment.  It is not uncommon to watch an internal monologue turn external for a while, and then slip back in for a bit.

                Any object or person can become the main character in a child’s narrative.  Tonight, I attended a bridal shower where two young girls transformed the favors, mirrors, into living characters who acted out their stories.    I am still in the process of reading David Elkind’s Power of Play and read today how he feels that kids have too many toys.  He states that too many toys can distract kids rather than helping them to focus and use the toys to create story.  If the girls at the shower had been in a room full of toys would they have had such rich story lines or would they have just been entertained bouncing from toy to toy?  Meaningful play takes time to develop.  The narrative is worked and reworked until the child develops it to a place where she is happy with the outcome.  This experimentation builds a richness and depth to our play and lives. 

                Legos are universally one of my personal favorite toys. I'm excited that Nate and Elli have now entered a stage where they play with them allowing this ongoing creativity. They build and set up scenes and story. Last week they created a Sweet Genius kitchen, yesterday it was boats; today it was creating racecars on the track. Legos leave room for the child or adult to be in charge of the play.
Nate's farmer is now a police officer.

Elkind, D. (2007). The power of play. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press.

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