Friday, 12 June 2015

LEAF PLAY







Sometimes I want to throw all of the children's toys out. They frustrate me on many levels. First, I should say, that I know that they are usually given with good intentions. And, secondly, sometimes it's even the ones that we as parents have chosen that need to be added to the pile. So this is not about pointing the finger. It's more about what children actually enjoy playing with. And how we sometimes lose sight of that - or get sucked into believing that a product can replace what they really want.

Take, for instance, our recent trip to the Southern Highlands. After a morning walk through the bush and a rest-stop for afternoon tea in Kangaroo Valley, we found a bountiful collection of autumn leaves. The children started to look for the largest one, and soon we were creating a giant circle of them. Giving focus to the activity excited them, and soon they were gathering as many leaves as they could then placing them in the centre or on the boundary of the circle. 

At the end they decided to run around the circle singing "Ring a ring o' roses". It was so lovely to watch. They were running and laughing, and completely immersed in something so simple. All it took was our participation. To be there with them, playing with them, engaging with what they were doing. And the funny thing is, that after the initial participation they no longer needed us to take part. It was then their activity, and they had taken it to a whole new level of imaginative play. But, it's as if they needed the comfort and reassurance that we were near them to get there. And once they felt secure, they were able to play unencumbered.

Of course, its not always possible to drop everything and play all of the time with your children. But it's nice to make the effort when you can. These are times that we remember. 

images the indigo crew

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