Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Playing with Toys: Stored Away or Setting Out?

Toys, toys, toys! As soon as you enter my home, you know children live here. Although the toys are placed neatly in containers, baskets, toy boxes, and shelves, they are still quite visible. I make sure my two children can reach the toys that are theirs. My 5 year old daughter's Barbies (R) and Polly Pockets (R) stay upstairs in her room because I don't want my 14 month old son to choke on the pieces. His toys are low to the ground or in baskets so that they are in reach.

So often when I go to a client's home, the toys are scattered throughout the home or they are put nicely in dark containers out of the child's reach. Now, there are times both of these situations could help a child. But sometimes, the child needs the opposite of what they have. If a child tends to fleet around from one activity to another seemingly like a tornado, then less toys within reach may be better. Also, help the child to clean up one activity before going to another when possible. I don't think the house has to stay spic-n-span all day, but too much stuff out on tables and the floor can overwhelm some children. On the other hand, a more passive child may need more toys setting out, because if not, he would just not play with the toys or think to request to play with them. This child may also need a little more help learning how to play with a toy. Although a one and two year old's attention span may not last through the evening news (30 minutes), many of them can play with the same toy for at least 5 minutes. Remember that a toddler's attention span is not super long, but consider the quality. When he played with the toy, was he focused on it or did he give up easily when not figuring it out? Did he play with the toy or did he just dump it on the floor? Look at the quality of play, not just the quantity of toys and how long he can sit still. Some kids may sit and play with a toy for 15 minutes but just perseverate on playing with it one way, such as rolling a car back and forth. Did the child also say "beep, beep", crash the cars, or drive the car under the table as if it were a long bridge? When possible, expand how long and the variety of ways a child can play with a toy. One way to help with this is to have a semi-organized play space that is not too over-whelming and not too under-whelming!

No comments:

Post a Comment