Friday, January 22, 2010


It's really fun when now that Eliza's older and she can play better on her own.

Read an article on NPR that "Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills". Play is quite a hot topic these days isn't it? While i'm planning to plan things for Eliza to play, she really doesn't ever come to me and complain that she has nothing to do. She'll just hop on to another activity, regardless on whether it's a ok thing to do or a no-no (like opening the fridge to check out its contents, we have recently put a child-lock on the fridge to prevent her from doing so cos it was becoming too electricity wasting and distracting). Sometimes she'll ask me to play with her and sometimes she's quite happy on her own. Most of the time i realized, we are the ones who join in on her play. I'm asked to play when she is threatened by another kid nearby, or legos which we have always been playing with her on it.

Anyway to quote that article:
"Organizing play for kids has never seemed like more work. But researchers Adele Diamond and Deborah Leong have good news: The best kind of play costs nothing and really only has one main requirement — imagination. "

It is isn't it? Imagination.
I do think that Eliza's only on the early stages of imagination and it's too early to expect that from her but she has her own ways and ideas of playing without me even guiding her. While she does a lot of copying from us, somethings she does surprises us.

""It's interesting to me that when we talk about play today, the first thing that comes to mind are toys," says Chudacoff. "Whereas when I would think of play in the 19th century, I would think of activity rather than an object."

Though at home i wonder what activity she can do other than tinker with her toys. She loves playing bouncing/throwing/rolling balls and it always sets her really excited. I do find that when i bring her downstairs to the playground and the park she also has her own ideas about where to run off to, with some prompting from me on what can or cannot be pick up. Once i give her the freedom to do so she'll be more or less of to her devices. Else, at times she's a little afraid of somethings like bugs and big kids and even adults.

"It turns out that all that time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline.

Unfortunately, the more structured the play, the more children's private speech declines. Essentially, because children's play is so focused on lessons and leagues, and because kids' toys increasingly inhibit imaginative play, kids aren't getting a chance to practice policing themselves. When they have that opportunity, says Berk, the results are clear: Self-regulation improves.

"Because of the testing, and the emphasis now that you have to really pass these tests, teachers are starting earlier and earlier to drill the kids in their basic fundamentals. Play is viewed as unnecessary, a waste of time," Singer says. "I have so many articles that have documented the shortening of free play for children, where the teachers in these schools are using the time for cognitive skills."

It seems that in the rush to give children every advantage — to protect them, to stimulate them, to enrich them — our culture has unwittingly compromised one of the activities that helped children most. All that wasted time was not such a waste after all."

I remember one of the most fun things during my pri school days was recess and after school when we do manage to beg our way out of the house to play downstairs. I do remember always teaming up with my cousins to beg our grandparents to let us go downstairs, to the school nearby to play at the physcial fitness equipments and look at the small farm that was there. We threw leaves into the small drain that was teaming with the after-storm water to see and chase it while it floats away and improvise from there. We played a lot of chasing games though and i always lose out to my very nimble cousin, that made the challenge more exciting and rewarding when i did win him though.

Oh well...i'm not sure if that helped us in anyway, but it was really memorable. Still can you measure play? I don't really think so and the results aren't always the most obvious. I do believe it works with a secure home foundation as well.

thank goodness our pre-schools here aren't going to be regularized. Cos after that it's not as fun when the exam stress comes in.

Obviously i knew who was the one who did it. She left me this "straw chair" after taking out the straws in the drawer, poking it in there and ran off, leaving me to find this. I was quite amused.

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