Independent Play: Using Play Invitations To Encourage Imagination and Learning

Independent Play: Using Play Invitations To Encourage Imagination and Learning

Play and Learning, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs, Toddlers 12- 36 months
Independent play helps children feel confident, builds a sense of capability, concentration skills and creates many opportunities for discovery and learning. While children do not need intricate and overly elaborate toys or play opportunities to develop well, offering diverse play materials and new opportunities is a great way to help children enjoy their independent playtime. This is also a fantastic way to rotate toys that have been a bit forgotten and introduce new materials. So, a play invitation is simply setting out a specific play activity or a few toys on a surface that is easily accessible to the child, such as a small table or a blanket on the ground. Whatever toy or activity it is, it should be something the children can: Play without assistance and low supervision…
Read More
The Importance of Hands-On Learning Fun

The Importance of Hands-On Learning Fun

Help By Age & Stage, Play and Learning
Children love sensory play, messy science experiments, and hands-on activities. While it seems like children are “just playing” during this time, they are actually learning quite a bit. Hands on play activities are important for children to develop and practice many different skills. In this post, Mary Catherine, author of Fun-A-Day is sharing the importance of hands-on learning and what children really do discover through different play opportunities: Recently, my children played with a Coffee and Flower Sensory Bin. During that activity, they: • Explored their senses o Smell -- The coffee beans gave off a unique scent, which most of the children enjoyed. A few thought it smelled “extra stinky” though. o Sight -- Looking at the different colors and shapes of the beans, the play dough, and the fake flowers o…
Read More
Connecting with Children Through Play

Connecting with Children Through Play

Parenting, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs, Toddlers 12- 36 months
by Renee Peters “Play is the highest form of research” A well-documented quote from Albert Einstein and if you haven’t read it somewhere before I am sure you know what he meant by it? Children learn through play.  One of my favourite things to do is to provide my son with rich play experiences. Play isn’t just fun, it is how children learn about their world.  Through cause and effect,  experimenting, exploring their environment with their senses, observing, role playing, establishing cognitive patterns, developing on motor skills and coordination, learning important life skills; Becoming a happy healthy and thriving adult is hard work. It takes a lot of learning; some of these processes are overlooked and taken for granted. The importance of play doesn’t end there. Yes it’s enjoyable for…
Read More
10 Playful Solutions For Morning & Evening Routines : Parents S.H.A.R.E

10 Playful Solutions For Morning & Evening Routines : Parents S.H.A.R.E

Alternatives to Punishment, Parenting, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs
“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” -Diane Ackerman In this Parents S.H.A.R.E. post, our positive parenting community is sharing how they have used play as a parenting tool when faced with a variety of challenges during the morning and evening routines, from races to singing silly songs here are many fun ideas!!  Make it a RACE!  One of my favorites is racing to see who gets dressed first, my daughter or Tiger. We have no argument about getting dressed. -Amanda D My three girls like to race and see who will be the first to have everything done for bed first. The oldest sometimes even slows down and lets her sisters be winners too. -Darci We make a race to get down to the bus stop every morning and sometimes we…
Read More
35 Toys That Encourage Learning & Independent Play

35 Toys That Encourage Learning & Independent Play

Play and Learning
Toys are everywhere this time of the year  - and yes, toys are a wonderful way for children to play, learn and discover. But so many toys get opened up, children play for a little bit and then the toy sits in the corner, forgotten....So which toys really capture children's attention? Often it is the simple, non electronic and "open ended" toys and play items that most encourage children to express themselves freely, discover, learn, create and explore and play independently. Here are  35 plus of our favorite, kid powered, time tested playthings that offer young children a chance to play with a parent or independently and  become immersed in play, learning and imagination: Cardboard boxes What’s not to love about a giant cardboard box? It can be a fort, a train, a race…
Read More
Play & Discover: 6 Learning Activities For Tots & Preschoolers

Play & Discover: 6 Learning Activities For Tots & Preschoolers

Play and Learning
From figuring out patterns, matching pairs, color sorting  and more, play activities are a great  hands on way for toddlers & preschoolers to explore, experiment and learn.  The following six activities are fantastic opportunities for children to work on cognitive, motor, social and language skills, all which are vital to development. Welcome to the September edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Exploring and Learning. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are writing about this exploring and learning! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. The following activities are simple to set up and offer an opportunity for toddlers and preschoolers to…
Read More
Arr matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play.

Arr matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play.

Play and Learning
One wonderful and natural way that children can practice patience, cooperation, problem solving is through imaginative and creative play. In the spirit of the family creations blog carnival, today I am sharing about my family’s favorite pirate activities, how and what we learn from them. Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. *** Building a pirate ship: We have built many pirate ships, from cardboard boxes to using rope and a piece of scrap wood, no matter…
Read More
The Benefits of Messy Play And How To Make it Slightly Less Messy

The Benefits of Messy Play And How To Make it Slightly Less Messy

Play and Learning, Toddlers 12- 36 months
Messy play gives children an opportunity to tap into their creativity, explore all sorts of possibilities, enhance and experience their senses, practice cooperation and of course…get messy. Glitter, play dough, paint, slime, goop, glue, mud, muck, water and more... Children just love it and well, some parents really just don’t like it all that much. It's just so messy. There is good reason to create opportunities for messy play for young children. Messy play promotes coordination, fine motor skills, planning, self regulation and more Open ended, non structured play encourages creativity and learning Provides sensory stimulation vital to brain development Messy play is a great way for young children to channel their energy Provides an opportunity for parents to work together and foster cooperation Messy play is important for a child’s development,…
Read More
Books & Play: Enhancing Reading Comprehension In a Fun Way.

Books & Play: Enhancing Reading Comprehension In a Fun Way.

Play and Learning, Preschoolers 3-5 yrs, Toddlers 12- 36 months
Welcome to the March Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Discovering through Books This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants have investigated what role books have played in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. *** Our book shelves are overflowing these days and there are even more books piled on the floor and stuffed into drawers.  Books and reading are probably one of our most favorite activities on any day. We have even been spotted reading and doing groceries at the same time. Besides reading, we also love to play with and explore the stories we read about. One of our…
Read More

Feathery Fun Turkey in 10 Steps

Play and Learning
This week I was totally inspired by the Nurturestore's "Let's play dough book" and came up with these funny feathery turkeys made out of a chocolate tinted salt dough. 1. Whip up a batch of traditional salt dough (2cups flour,1 cup salt, 1cup water)  Set half of dough aside for another project.  2. Add in 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and a pinch of cinnamon to the dough for color and scent.  3. Sort colorful feathers, googly eyes and molding tools 4. Divide dough into tennis ball sized chunks and then roll to smooth.  5. Create a turkey body shape from the dough.  6. Stick  feathers into dough to create a colorful  tail 7. Press googly eyes into dough 8.   Add a beak (we used yellow straw) and a…
Read More