Encouragers, grab your capes because we are going adventuring with Denita Dinger, owner of Kaleidoscope Play School, education consultant, defender of play, and empower-er of teachers! She joins us to talk about our precious kiddos, their amazing abilities to learn through play, and to encourage parents in how to raise tiny humans who are courageous and who will persevere throughout their lives.
Denita believes PLAY is the best way for a child to learn. To be the best teacher and parent you can be, she suggests you follow the child’s lead.
Denita’s Recipe for the best play environment:
Freedom to explore
Open-ended materials (or “non-toys”) to play with
- plastic rain gutters
- shop vacuum
- PVC pipe
- cardboard boxes
- plastic jars
Ask yourself 2 questions before stopping a child from doing something:
Are they hurting anything?
Are they hurting anyone?
If not, then give the child the opportunity to try it on their own and figure it out themselves. The other question I ask is, “Will they still be doing this when they are 20?” Chances are the answer is no so let it go!
Children need toys that are passive (that do nothing) unless the hands of the child are making the toy do something. Toys that are active (when the child pushes a button and the toy does something like sings a song) encourage the child to need to be entertained.
Denita’s “pet peeve toy” list:
- most battery-operated toys
- toy instruction manuals
We tend to focus too much on children learning things like colors, how to write their name, how to stand in line, etc.) before they need to know them. Give them the gift of exploring their world!