The Jones & Reynolds text primarily focuses on the play of children ages 3 to 5. If you currently work with children under 3 or over 5 make notes of the stages described in Chapter 1 and feel free to adapt what you’re learning from the book to apply to those age groups as well.
For this discussion, focus on the Exploration stage of play (p. 8 and 9). Children under 3 are said to be in this stage. Give an example of play appropriate for children of this age and what you feel children are learning from their play.
I like to start introducing play dough to children around 18 months. If we can get past trying to eat it during the first few shorter experiences, I model different ways to shape and manipulate the dough and follow the child’s lead. Some children like to poke the dough and then ask for help getting it out of their fingernails. Some children like to squeeze the dough. Others like to stretch and tear it. A lot of the experience is taking it out and putting it back in its container, especially if there is a lid of any kind. Rather than give directions, I narrate a bit and ask questions. If a child squeezes the dough I will use words like squish or smash and talk about the texture. If the dough is taken out and the child looks into the container I will say it’s empty or do you want to fill it? Children are learning about cause and effect since the play dough changes shape. They are developing fine motor skills as they manipulate the dough and strengthening muscles that will help them write and draw. Their vocabulary is also growing as they hear specific words consistently paired with their actions. Perhaps when I say empty a child will say all gone or make the sign if it is one they use to communicate at meals.
Reply to the following:
1. Moving from sensory exploration to achievement of initiative requires for early childhood educators to provide rich learning environments that meet the child’s developmental stage is important because it will establish opportunities for student’s to move effectively through the stages of play. I believe when children gain sensory input through a positive environment synapses in their brain attach and form new experiences. Neuroscience research affirms that newborns brain are shaped by sensory and movement experiences (Jones, e., & Reynolds, G., pp 8). As children at age two explore their environment they learn to build trust and confidence in their own abilities. As they build autonomy children will be confident and able to progress to the next the stage where receptive and expressive language skills will be built and a more profound play will occur, where problem solving skills will be gain. I have found science to be a great tool for every age because you use your five senses to investigate children who are two can explore through touch and learn about cause and effect and children who are three can build on by learning new vocabularies and open ended questions led by the teacher, when they are four and five they can learn to write or draw in their journal about sequencing and so forth. An example would be exploring how plants grow, as a two year you can play with the soil by smelling it, feeling it, and seeing it. The teacher can take the children out for a nature walk. As they progress to the age of three the teacher can discuss what are living things and play I spy… at this age children can even plant their own seeds and learn about germination and the different part of a plant and what plants need to survive. As they progress to 4 and 5 they can begging journal writing and discussing about their experiences with flowers and plants.
Jones, E., & Reynolds, G. The Play’s the Thing: Teachers’ Roles in Children’s Play.. (n.d.) The Free Library. (2014). Retrieved Oct 13 2020
Edited by Negroni, Ivette on Oct 13 at 9:42am
2. At my center we recently did an activity for 2 year olds that consisted of a cheerio necklace. I’m sure many centers do this as its great for fine motor skills and it very fun. First, the cheerio is introduce and its spoken of, for example, what shape it is and the texture of it. After, the string/yarn is passed around making sure each child has one. Then, we started instructing them by showing an example of how to grab one cheerio and placing the string/yarn through the hole or middle of the cheerio. After everyone is done we help them tie a knot at the end and we place it on their neck as a necklace. This activity is great for fine motor skills, eye coordination and shape recognition. As well as getting to play with the cheerios by making shapes with them before they place it on the necklace and also interacting with the other children developing social skills by putting on each others necklaces. In this activity we use words like circle and string/yarn, we help the children identify the words and learn about them.
I feel like this activity is very appropriate for children of this age because it’s exploring different areas of development and at the same time children are playing as they learn. It’s a very fun and interactive activity.
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