With spring break behind us and the promise of summer on the horizon, many thoughts turn to being out side. As a kid I would spend hours outside poking around the treed area behind my house, building forts, rescuing imaginary people from imaginary foes all while donning my cape and rubber boots. My alter ego was Danger Girl. She was brave, smart and clever in a very resourceful way. Bubbles and lightning bolts were her weapons of choice. I was fearless in theory, but a coward in practical terms. Being 4 meant I never ventured too far from the line of sight of my home and I was always armed with chalk or bubble for protection.
I would draw treasure maps on sidewalks and leave a trail of drips from my bubble wand. Dad always knew where I was or was easily discovered by following my clues. I played with shadows and loved to splash in the water. On hot days, my dad would give me a bucket of water and a paint brush. I would paint the house, the fence and paint pictures on the sidewalk. I would chalk for colour and dream of being an artist.
As I grew older and had summer time charges in my care, I would offer up the same tools to be used by the 4 years olds in front of me. We would play the same games I had as a kid with their ideas added. I took this knowledge and had my own children and supplied the very same materials with very different outcomes. My son would add Lego creatures to stalk in the grass and my daughter needed quilts for forts and tea parties. The end result was the same, imaginary play that brought endless joy.
In today’s world play time as a different ring to it, I notice the children are being entertained rather than entertaining. However, 4 year olds all over the world still have that magic knowledge of imaginary play. It may need props and adult support to nurture it along the way, but if you think back to your time as a 4 year old I bet you remember an adult nurturing you into this magical world of make believe.
At ABC Head Start, the teachers play alongside the children, providing props when needed. Driving the sofa to Tim Horton’s so the children can buy donuts for a picnic. Perhaps they are stopping at a bear cave along the way to pick up chickens for the dance party. The scenarios are endless. Just encouragement and a twinkle in the eye are needed.
This type of play is crucial for the development of a child’s mind. Sure it appears to be all fun and games but do you recognize the importance? Problem solving and vocabulary skills develop faster this way than by sitting at a table doing classic “school work”. Social skills are developed and the all-important transferable skills that people need to survive in other parts of their life, like at the work place. Learning to compromise, include brain storm, problem solve are all skills that help a child become resilient. Who doesn’t need to be resilient in today’s world? I know I sure do, life changes on a dime and I need to be able to absorb or deflect the changes at will. So do our children.
I understand that imaginary play is not for everyone. Think about it for a moment. If it is a part of your life or you want it to continue in a life of a child, I invite to volunteer for the Magic and Masquerade Gala. It is an evening of dress up, masks and magic. It is a magical event on an adult level and remind you of times when you were a child and will support children of today.
By supporting fundraising events like Scarecrow Festival and Magic and Masquerade Gala, you are assisting the Staff at ABC Head Start to ensure the children can receive all the helping hands possible to have success in learning and in life. Consider Volunteering for the festival by contacting Brenda at Brenda.Erikson@gmail.com or make an effort to attend the 20th anniversary of Scarecrow Festival October 12-14, 2012 at Northland’s Edmonton Expo Centre. It’s a family friendly event for children of all ages!
For a fantastic Bubble Refill Recipe click here
For a great liquid chalk recipe click here
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- The Cat’s Cradle (edmontonscarecrowfestival.wordpress.com)