If you are looking for an age group that personifies energy, dynamics, wonder, and an all-encompassing aura of excitement and joy; then the Toddlers could be the group for you!
Over the summer, the children have really begun to take an interest in imitative play.What exactly is imitative play, you might ask?
As far as children’s play is concerned; some people may be familiar with the term dramatic play, in which children act out and/or assign specific roles.As a child, you very likely played ‘house’ or ‘dress-up’, or ‘pretend’; which are only a few examples of what people typically think of.However; from an educator’s point-of-view, young children develop and explore imitative play first.The name comes from how young children imitate and re-enact familiar actions from home.For example; carrying and wrapping baby dolls in blankets or cloths, sweeping the floor, or wiping items with a cloth.
As educators, we will take our cues from observing the children and then incorporating play items into the environment.Props such as baby dolls, clothing and diapers, play dishes and food have been a consistent part of our house area; and we have included a supply of these materials for our outdoor space as well.
What has proven to be a very exciting part of this process is that the children are really wanting to use the REAL items in their play.The pieces of fabric for wrapping the babies are not always sufficient, the children want the actual spare blankets from the shelf.They love using the child-sized play vacuum and broom, but nothing compares to the centre’s actual vacuum, brooms and dustpans.Even though the brooms are at least twice as tall as the children, they are bound and determined to use them.(And yes, I am going to be honest; even though it sounds like there is potential for a scene out of a Three Stooges movie, so far the children have really shown their competency with how they manipulate the broom handles!)
On a related side note, this type of play also speaks to how the children are developing their self-help skills.At this age the children are really showing a desire to ‘help’ and are wanting to wash their own faces, and wiping the table after snacks and meals.Some of the children are even wanting to help put away a few toys!
If you are a parent of a child between 18 and 30 months, have you noticed this type of play occurring at home?
Don Mcmahon R,ECE