Archive for the ‘Playful Links’ Category

What is play? Play is the pirates we fight in our front yard with broomsticks and cardboard daggers. Play is the hiding spot in the closet where we’re certain that we’ll never be found. Play is the pink lipstick we put on our brothers.

But if play is only thought of as an activity for children then how can I argue that play is critical to the life experience of all humans? Because not only is play the method through which children learn the world, but adults use play in the same way. We shy away from calling it play, choosing instead to let psychobabble and complicated terms stand in for a very short and simple four letter word.

~ Dylan Kendall in “The Ball:  Man’s Most Important Invention” on The Huffington Post

And more playful food for thought:

Playborhood, the blog, is now Playborhood, the book! Read about it (and where you can buy it) here!

“Let’s Play: Books and Creative Free Play” by Carrie St. John on Hilltown Families

“Ban homework for before third grade; support children’s play” by Bonnie Harris, The Christian Science Monitor

“Bucket List for Kids: 50 things to do before they’re 12” by Catherine McLean, The Globe & Mail (via Free Range Kids)

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Playful math?

Ever since I read the post “Mothers Talk Less to Young Daughters About Math” on the NY Times Motherlode blog, math has been on my mind.  Now since I only have a young daughter, I don’t have any comparison data for our family. However I am aware of my junior high-induced math phobia that still creeps into my life all these many years later.  Storytelling, word play, and general goofing around with language comes easily to me. Playing with numbers? Not so much. As LP nears kindergarten, I’m very aware that I need to clean up how I talk about math and my own abilities.

And now the Motherlode blog has pointed to a wonderful resource in the post “Goodnight, Moon. Goodnight, Math Problem.”  Yes, just like a nightly bedtime story, the Bedtime Math site posts a nightly math problem to share with your little people (that scales to their age/ability).

I’ve used the ideas from Bedtime Math every day (not at bedtime because our bedtime ritual is already a bit too long).  Two great things that I’ve discovered in the past 4 days…one is that these make for great discussions while we are on the road to and from preschool or waiting in the dr’s office or passing time hanging out in the potty. LP loves them! Number two is that the example math questions have helped me think about incorporating math questions and interactions into our daily interactive storytelling.  Now as we tell a story about dogs making cookies, I’ll ask LP how many cookies do the dogs eat if each of the three dogs in the story gets three cookies. The addition of this kind of question seems to delight her and fit right into the other questions I ask to create the story.

So say “YES!” to playful math!  And I’d love to know…how do your little people respond?

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” I find that my daughter utilizes junk in her play as much as her store bought toys. Junk is anything that may have ended up in a trash or recycle bin, but my daughter has rescued it for a better purpose.  When she is outside, items such as sticks, rocks and water are essential tools to her play.   Both junk and nature finds allow her to engage in abstract thinking by imagining these objects are something different.”

~ Rebekah of The Golden Gleam in “Playful Parenting Tip #3: Junk and Nature Toys”

More playful food for thought from around the web:

“8 Ways to be Creative (Without Doing Art)” by Amy on Let’s Explore

“The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development” by Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD on Psychology Today

And to see the project I’m excited to try with LP…check out “Holding Children Competent” by Teacher Tom on his blog of the same name!

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“Our creativity as humans is inspiring. When we creatively solve problems or express ourselves in creative ways we spark new life, and ignite ideas in others as well.”

~ Michael Stanclift, N.D.,  “Getting More From Every Day: Reigniting Your Creative Fire” on the Huffington Post


More playful food for thought:

“How Creativity Works” NPR interview with Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works

The PlayChastain project…check out the amazing vision for a natural playground in Atlanta!

“Why do you ‘bother’ living commercial-free?” by Brandy King on The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood blog.  I’m going to add a quote here because she articulates something I’ve thought about a great deal much better than I ever have! Here it is:

I want my children to have constant practice creating amazing stories and environments from scratch. I want them to learn for themselves that necessity is the mother of invention. I want them to rely on their own ambition to navigate through life rather than waiting for someone else to tell them what to do. And I believe that limiting the pre-defined personalities and scripts inherent in licensed characters helps them toward these ends.



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“I like my noggin.

It holds things like the old sheep jumping the fence.”

~ the Little Person (who has been fascinated with the old sheep character in Charlotte’s Web and has created all kinds of back and side stories for her)

And here are some links as delicious food for playful thoughts:

“How to…Invent a Recipe with Kids” by Rachelle on TinkerLab

“10 Simple Ways to Raise Creative Kids” by Rachelle (of TinkerLab) on Kiwi Crate

“Tell a Better Story – Storytelling made Simple” by  Melissa Taylor on Imagination Soup

“How to Pretend” by  Kim Rowe  on Little Stories

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“Let go of what you think your child should be interested in and what you think they should be doing or learning.”

~ Kate Fairlie in “Let Go and Let Them Learn” on Childhood101

And other wonderful playful food for thought from around the web:

“Toddlers to tweens: relearning how to play”  by Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor online

“Kids need adventure. Parents need to to teach them how” by Stuart on The Family Adventure Project

“Why Children’s Theater Matters” by Danielle Wood on education.com

“This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids” on Colossal Art & Design

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I’ve been taking (an unexpected) blogging break AND also been bookmarking lots of wonderful links out there. So I thought it was time to share a few. The first one is a wonderful 5 minute video…check it out!

“How to make an interactive and experiential story-telling hour” on Kirjastokaista

Play, Who Will be the Next Steve Jobs?” by Darell Hammond on Huffington Post

“German doctors prescribe kids a trip to the theater” by Isabelle de Pommereau on The Christian Science Monitor Global News Blog

“Blast Off! Pretend Play Astronaut” by Melissa Taylor on Imagination Soup

“Quiet-time art game for children” by Jean Van’t Hul on The Artful Parent

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“A fresh story is like fresh homemade bread from the oven. There is just nothing that feeds the mind and heart as well.”

~ Megan Rosker in “Mama, Tell Me a Story” on Let the Children Play

And here’s more playful food for thought:

“5 Reasons Why Kids Should Play in School” by Kerala Taylor on MomsRising.org
“Catalyzing Creativity:  7 Playful Activity Books for Grown-Ups”  by Maria Popova on Brain Pickings

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“Daydreams are a highly creative form of mental engagement and a necessary way for children–lacking real-world experience–to process complex information and emotions.”

~ “How Daydreaming Helps Children Process Information and Explore Ideas” by Amy Fries on Psychology Today

And more playful food for thought from around the web:

“Responding to Children’s Spontaneous Experimentation” by Christie Burnett on Childhood 101

“Guest Post: FiveFreedoms I Had that My Daughter Won’t” by Kerala Taylor on Free Range Kids

“The Junk Box: A Collection of Odds and Ends for Inspiring Creativity” by Jaimie on Two Chicks and a Hen

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“Attention is the starting place of every intuitive story. In order to make up a story on the spot, we need to start. We need a seed. We need a launching pad. And the world is ready to help you. The world will surround you with seeds and a launching pad and all you have to do is attend. Pay attention. Look around. Listen. Smell the air. Taste your food. Feel your feet in your shoes. Be there. Then the magic happens.”

~ David Sewell McCann in “Attention: The First A of Intuitive Storytelling” on The Wonder of Childhood

(I highly recommend his whole series of posts on intuitive storytelling — wonderful way to think about making up stories!)

And of course there’s always more delicious playful food for thought:

“The Case for Imaginative Play: Emotions and Fears” by Christie Burnett on Childhood101

“A Scavenger Hunt (and make)” by Jean on the Artful Parent

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