You gotta roll with it!

Some days you can have activities planned out, but the small people have their own agenda. That’s the magic of free play. Like I’ve said at the top, you’ve just got to roll with it. It’s the same as an early years practitioner and as a Mummy. The moments where children discover something new for themselves is like magic. Those moments were the reason I loved my job and why I love watching my own children learn. If you can see them unfolding and sensitively intervene to extend their learning, you’re onto a winner.

This particular piece of magic had actually begun a couple of days before. If I’m completely honest, I’m not sure who started the fun. If you pressed me, I’d guess it was Boo due to her current trajectory interest, but we’ll never truly know. I found Squidge and Boo rolling stones down the slide. Squidge collecting them both from the bottom, giving one back to Boo and encouraging her to roll it again. They were playing together and sharing. Their friendship is really beginning to blossom and I love seeing it happen.

This play lasted around 10 minutes, but the idea must’ve stuck. A few days later, after our new lawn had been laid (it’s lovely, and oh so green!) Squidge returned to this activity. This time around she used the plastic balls from the ‘Pic ‘n’ Pop’ walker (you know the one that clicks incessantly as they push it around and refuses to actually pick up the balls, yeah that one). With the garden being on a gradient and the grass to run on to, the balls rolled so much further than the stones had. This delighted them both. Squidge rolled them over and over while Boo ran to collect them, returned them and watched them roll again. They were having a great time!

When intervening in play, timing is vital. Leave it too long and the moment passes, their interest wanes. Interrupt at the wrong moment or worse still, take over their play and you spoil the fun. At this point while they were heavily engrossed, I darted inside to collect a few other objects for them to roll.

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I chose a larger ball, a plastic egg, cars with different sized wheels (one being the pull back type) and some giant reels (these were from our local scrap store – magical treasure troves if you have one I urge you to go!). I introduced them with my favourite starter ‘I wonder what will happen if you try these’. ‘I wonder…’ statements are a great way to pose a question without actually looking for an answer. They leave the idea open for children to explore, but don’t put them under any pressure.

Squidge and Boo both got stuck straight in. Taking turns rolling, collecting and running back to try again. Boo had a few goes, then a few turns actually going down the slide herself before she moved on. Squidge stayed with it and got involved talking about the distances the objects were travelling “That one went really, really far!”. She was keen to predict which would travel furthest. She was utterly unimpressed when the blue car (the pull back type) got stuck half way down. Just look at her face…

The girls really enjoyed this activity. I’m pretty certain they will revisit it over and over. Hopefully next time Squidge will choose her own variety of objects to try. We could start to think about ways of measuring distance, ranking which object went furthest or what happens if we alter the ramp. I’ll wait and see which way their interest goes…

Thanks for reading.

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Lots of love Cat, Squidge and Boo Xxx

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This post is linked to #PicknMix Fridays #fortheloveofBLOG and #KCACOLS

A Cornish Mum
The Pramshed
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

  • Lucy (@Lucy_at_home) (July 1, 2016)

    A great post on how to expand learning and just push their thoughts a little further. I love watching my kids exploring the world around them and I think it’s so important to train them to be curious – what happens when I do this? Why does that happen? If I do this differently then what will happen? #picknmix

    • Cat (July 1, 2016)

      Thank you Lucy. Encouraging children to question things is how they become great inventors, creatives, scientists and more. Don’t take what you’re told as fact – it opens up a whole new world xx

  • Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) (July 4, 2016)

    Aw, they look like they’re having so much fun! My daughter is really starting to move on from copying play, to experimenting with her toys (and any other objects she can get her hands on…) and it’s so wonderful to watch. She did stump me the other day though as we tried ‘what other things can go through the shape sorter’ – she just looked at me like I was an idiot, took the lid off, and chucked the whole lot in. 🙂 #KCACOLS

    • Cat (July 4, 2016)

      Ha ha, some tasks do go better than others! Maybe I should do a ‘That didn’t go so well…’ post! 🙂 xx

  • Becky @ Educating Roversi (July 5, 2016)

    My son loves nothing more than rolling things down his slide 🙂 #KCACOLS

    • Cat (July 5, 2016)

      He should come join forces with my two! 🙂 x

  • Mummyandmonkeys (July 7, 2016)

    This looks like fun I think my boys would still enjoy this at 5 and 8. I do love watching them explore and learn. Thanks for linking to #picknmix

    • Cat (July 7, 2016)

      I think children enjoy free play up to at least the teen years… even into those if it were considered ‘cool’. In school we used to get older children on work experience and they never had a problem getting stuck in with the littles! xx

  • Cal at Family Makes (July 7, 2016)

    It is lovely to see them learn through play isn’t it? You’re so lucky to do that in your job as well as at home with your own children, and they are very lucky to have a mum who seeks so many learning opportunities for them and encourages their development so well. #KCACOLS

    • Cat (July 7, 2016)

      Aww, thank you very much. You’ve just made my day 🙂 xxx

  • A MUM TRACK MIND (July 7, 2016)

    I have almost forgotten what it is like to play with such a little person! I’ve got all the fun to come now as Sophie is six months old and about set for world domination by the looks of things. Wish me luck! Thanks for joining us on #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Cat (July 7, 2016)

      You’re right, that’s when the fun really begins! Good luck – though I’m sure you won’t need it xx

  • mainy - myrealfairy (July 7, 2016)

    Great to see children having the freedom to experiment with their play and learning. I love to watch my boys use different materials and toys to make up their own games. Fab post:)

    Mainy

    #KCACOLS

    • Cat (July 7, 2016)

      They come up with much more exciting games than us silly grown ups could ever think of! 🙂 Thank you xxx

  • Clare (July 8, 2016)

    This is actually a really useful post. I often wonder whether to intervene with the boys play or allow them to just enjoy the fun themselves. Especially Ellis who’s imagination is just through the roof at the moment. It is also crazy how many different things you are teaching them (or they are learning independently) by that one activity. Thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS we hope you come back again on Sunday xx

    • Cat (July 8, 2016)

      It’s always hard to know when to step in, I try to only interrupt if I can move them on or help them – although most times a struggle is where learning really starts! Thanks for the lovely comment xx

  • Anna (July 11, 2016)

    I am teaching in Foundation Stage next year and this post has given me lots of food for thought about how to move learning on without hindering their own exploration. The girls look like they are having so much fun playing together 🙂 x

    • Cat (July 11, 2016)

      I definitely altered my practice with my time in early years. I feel like you have the space and time to facilitate their learning, it’s not such a rush – you must learn this and onto the next. You can approach things in so many different ways. The curriculum is so much better. Have a look at Building Learning Power (BLP) it’s an awesome project all about developing life skills such as perseverance and collaboration. Xxx

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