Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some books about play...

I know it's hard to find time to read. When I do have the time, I often prefer to find something mindless or at least fiction to take my mind off the chaos of the day. However, I think that it's important to make sure we are continually learning and challenging ourselves, too. So, when you're up for it, here are a few suggestions to learn more about the importance of play and how it promotes literacy and creativity.

This first one was a big inspiration for my family's dedication to turning off our television for a whole year. We turned it off in March and are still going strong!

This was suggested by Carol Westby at her conference.

Here is one specific to how children learn through play.

This book offers 50 symbolic play themes to help get fantasy play started. A great choice for playdates and for those children who need help getting their ideas started. This is also a wonderful way to promote new vocabulary!

300 dramatic play activities!

If you try one or more of them out, let me know what you think!

Friday, October 29, 2010

"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things." - Plato

Who would of thunk it?  Even Plato knew about the importance of play. 

I cringe everytime I hear about another school program cutting out recess or a preschool program deciding to have an "academic focus." 
I attended a conference yesterday called "The Roots of Literacy: Play and Language" presented by Dr. Carol Westby, a Speech Language Pathologist.  She discussed a variety of research that proves that imaginary play makes kids better readers.  She said that good readers build mental models or representations of the situations described in text, thus allowing for comprehension.  Pretend or imaginary play is the first tool that children use to start creating these mental models that are so necessary in reading. 
It has also been shown that abstract thought, what is used in symbolic play, fuels creativity.  The ability for abstraction not only allows kids to be critical thinkers, but it also allows them to take on other perspectives - a necessary skill for socializing. empathizing and being a conscious global citizen.
I hope to use this blog to give parents new ideas to play with their kids and also inspire them to play more - not just because it's fun for their child - but, because it's necessary and critical for development.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Here we go!!

The purpose of this blog is to give parents new ideas to help them enjoy their children even more.  I will be posting anything that I think would be a great tip for something to do, see or experience with your child.  Some examples are events in the area, play ideas, web links, books, recipes, toys and games. 

Sign up to be a follower of the blog, so that you are updated when a new post is created.  You can choose to either follow publicly (others can see your user name) or privately. 

Feel free to share this blog with your family and friends.  This is not only geared for clients of Larson Learning and Play.  My goal is bring families of all backgrounds and experiences together to share our wonderful and creative ideas with one another.