Monday, 5 October 2015

The Play Report 2015

SAY YES TO PLAY!


We know that play is learning for life. It fuels our development. It makes us more creative, stronger and more active. It teaches us how to work together and care about each other. It sparks curiosity. Play makes the world bigger. For children and grown-ups. So for us, it makes sense to see how we can find ways to do more of it. It helps to think of play not as toys and games (although those definitely don’t hurt!), but as a state of mind. A way of finding the fun in everything you do – especially those normal, everyday activities that are such a big part of our lives at home. And just think about how much more fun we’d have doing these activities if we just let ourselves play a bit more. Because we think good things can happen if we just say yes to playing more. That’s why at IKEA, play is pretty serious business. So serious, in fact, that we conducted the world’s largest research study on the subject. We interviewed almost 30,000 parents and children in 12 countries to learn more about play and how people spend their time together all around the world. This work has given us lots of insights into family life today, which we’ve put together here. This study has shown us that part of our job in creating a better everyday life at home must be to inspire and enable people to play more together. So let’s see what we found out!

BACKGROUND AND TECHNICAL NOTES IKEA has undertaken a major research-driven project in 2014 across 12 countries to explore the subjects of children’s development and play, and young people and parents’ perception of family life at home. This is a follow-up to the 2009 Play Report which interviewed 7,833 parents of 0-12 year olds and 3,101 children aged 7-12. Carried out in 25 countries, it became the largest global study ever carried out on play, parenting and life at home. Panel provider Research Now carried out the internet based fieldwork in both 2009 and 2014. The 2009 study has been repeated and extended in 2014 to include young people aged 13-18 and parents of 0-16 year olds. Some questions have been repeated to enable a comparison between 2009 (titled ‘2009 Global Index’) and 2014 (titled ‘2014 Global Index’) data. Other questions, particularly those exploring the use of media devices, have been added to provide additional insight into family life.The research in 2014 consists of 16,174 internet-based interviews with parents of 0-16 year olds; 6,235 interviews with children aged 7-12 and 6,790 interviews with young people aged 13-18. Family, Kids and Youth has partnered with IKEA to design the questionnaire, analyse the results and provide an overview of child development and background to parenting, family life and the importance of play. It has partnered with panel provider Research Now to carry out the fieldwork. The countries surveyed in 2014 are: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, USA, India, China and South Korea.
















Thursday, 23 July 2015

Play Series 9 : Onlooker Play

Play Series 9 : Onlooker Play



Learning Through Onlooker Play

Photo Credit: Image created by Amanda Morin

What is Onlooker Play?

Also known as "spectator play." at this stage of play your child is interested in how other people are playing, but isn't ready to join in quite yet.
She may ask questions about what other people are doing or make suggestions as to how they should be playing, but she’s not an active participant, she’s mainly an observer.

How to Teach or Engage During Solitary Play:

This stage of play often runs concurrently with solitary play, a type of play which persists and gets refined throughout childhood.
One of the differences is that your child is moving from functional play to constructive play, a time in which toys are not only used for their given functions, but also to make "new" toys as well.
Even if your child isn't participating during onlooker play, you can take advantage of her interest by letting her experience play and learning through you.
  • Bring her in the kitchen with you while you cook, lay out some extra kitchen tools or provide her with a play kitchen. Then talk through what you are doing, or make up silly stories about what you’re planning to cook for dinner.
  • Read lots of stories with her, but don’t just read. Act out the stories, adding in silly voices, sound effects and props like a "word catcher."
  • Play with her older siblings or cousins while she’s around, so she can see how other kids interact with each other.

Play Series 8 : Dramatic Play 2


Play Series 8 : Dramatic Play 2


toddler dress up - M. Ryan
Definition: Dramatic play is a term that refers to the everyday make-believe games kids naturally enjoy. From dress up to dolls to playing superheros, dramatic play involves different types of games and activities at different ages. Depending on his age or interests, your child might incorporate elaborate props and join with friends in assuming complex roles in a story; or he might quietly imagine simple scenarios that require no dolls, toys, costumes, or other people at all.
It’s adorable to see kids playing these games, but what you're witnessing when you see your child in the midst of dramatic play isn't just something cute. Dramatic play is actually important to your child's development, supporting intellectual and verbal skills.
Imagination and Intellectual Development 
During dramatic play, young children get a chance to relieve scenes from their own life – things they've witnessed or participated in. So you might see your toddler serving her "babies" lunch just like you do or twirling around the room like the princess in the movie she's just watched. This is a sign that your toddler is starting to be able to hold pictures in her head. It's the first step towards more complex play and symbolic thought, which you'll notice in activities such as:
  • Using play items to stand in for real things: Thus, a bowl becomes a hat or a stick becomes a phone.
  • Imitating others: At first, your toddler might mimic your exact actions, but as he develops more advanced thinking, he won't just reenact what he's seen; he'll create new versions of a story. So at first he may pretend he's shopping just like mommy, and later he may line up his stuffed animals and go shopping for pets.
  • Engaging in complex games with other children: Around age 3, children begin to move away from parallel play and start interacting with peers and taking part in complex games where they collaborate and have a shared perspective. This lets them practice more grown-up interactions. It's one of the ways they try to make sense of the world around them. For instance, your child might play teacher while her friends act as students. She may lead them in a favorite song, "teach" them a lesson, or declare it play time...and all the while she is improving her ability to communicate and think logically.
  • Practicing higher-level thinking: What separates dramatic play from more passive games is that your child is involved in spontaneously creating something new. It's a deceptively simple activity that requires young children to plan, organize, and problem solve.
  • Using creativity: Your child might relive the same story over and over, each time bringing something different to the scenario to make it better or different. He may also begin to try and entertain you with these games. The first time your little one rushes through the house pretending to be a train will make you laugh, so he is sure to try and do it and similar things again and again to get that same response.
Make Believe and Verbal Skills
Imaginative games help young children sharpen their verbal sills because it allows them a chance to use those skills. Compare a game in which your toddler is pretending to examine a teddy bear like a doctor. She may (perhaps with just simple words) tell the bear to open its mouth or let it know a shot is coming. Compare that to an activity like throwing a ball or watching a video in which she doesn’t need to use words. Some of the signs of verbal skill building during dramatic play include:
  • Talking out loud: Try to sneak a look at your toddler or 2-year-old as he's playing independently. Without needing adult intervention or guidance, he may naturally engage in uninhibited storytelling or thinking out loud. Researchers call this "egocentric speech" because it's all about your child – he doesn't care what others have to say or need, he's in his own world. This allows your child to hear his own vocalization of words and play with the sounds of words on his own. This can encourage a child to experiment with words (be they real or made up) and build confidence with his own speech.
  • Talking more: There has been a surprising amount of study done on pretend play among children, and one of the things that has repeatedly been seen is that a child who starts narrating and building upon a story will talk more and more. She might just be thrilled by the sound of her own voice, or, as in the case with older children, she may get caught up in the story and continue adding on it. Children who have lots of time to practice talking in these imaginative situation may talk more in everyday conversation as well.
  • Making more and better associations among objects: As young children manipulate random plaything and organize them into a game or story line, they begin to group the objects in their head. Studies show that dramatic play seem to help children be able to create common and unusual associations between playthings. For instance, your toddler might naturally see a connection among all of those cups and spoons in a tea set, but she will also begin to see a connection between the plate in that tea set and the round flat disc that was part of a board game she pulled out during play time as well. This is the start of her being able to use common descriptive words for like objects.
What You Can Do to Encourage Dramatic Play
Dramatic play comes naturally to children, but in an age of constant stimulation, TV, electronic games, and organized activities, young children may actually have a limited amount of time to flex their imaginations. To help your child draw the benefits of imaginative game, try these quick tips:
  • Allow your toddler time and space to play independently and initiate her own dramatic games. That may mean turning off the TV, removing electronic toys from the play area, and letting your little one explore her toys without guidance or intervention.
  • Be willing to participate at least occasionally in some of his make-believe play. For instance, you might join a tea party or help him dress up like a cowboy, but only join in if you're asked.
  • Try to arrange times for your child to interact with other children. If your child is in a daycare program or has siblings, you have this one covered, but for other children, you might want to join or start a playgroup. While social interaction is not a necessary component for dramatic play, it does add an element to the play that helps build language and social skills.
  • Keep some key dramatic play props on hand. Kids don't actually need much to create imaginary worlds and elaborate storylines. My toddler is happy to turn the cups and bowls in my pantry into castles and racetracks for his cars. But he also spends long periods of time "talking" as he builds worlds with his Lego Duplo blocks, and when I'm making dinner, I pull the play kitchen into the real kitchen so he can cook alongside me. Toys like these spark creative activities and encourage imaginative play.

How to make a Shy Child socially active ?

How to make a Shy Child socially active ?
Shyness in kids may be thought of as a variation of temperament. Research suggests that more than 50% of people think of themselves as shy. If your child has exhibited shyness since infancy, fear of strangers and new situations, avoidance of eye contact, she probably has a shy temperament style.
Shyness that begins later in childhood is likely based on cognitive or environmental factors. Fear of embarrassment becomes strong in children around ages 4-5, then again around 12.
The feeling of being different is at the core of the shy child's distress. He is fearful of approaching new surroundings or people. He finds it difficult to assert himself in a group, though he likes to watch the others. This point of conflict between the child's fear and his desire to join in offers parents a teaching opportunity. John Malouff describes several strategies that parents can use to help children overcome shyness. He suggests trying several of them for about a month, then sticking with the strategies that work for you.
It's important to distinguish between shyness and social phobia. Experts disagree on the relation between shyness and social anxiety disorders of childhood. The primary difference is the severe anxiety symptoms and extreme avoidance of certain situations.

Shyness
Shyness in kids may be thought of as a variation of temperament. Research suggests that more than 50% of people think of themselves as shy. If your child has exhibited shyness since infancy, fear of strangers and new situations, avoidance of eye contact, she probably has a shy temperament style.
Shyness that begins later in childhood is likely based on cognitive or environmental factors. Fear of embarrassment becomes strong in children around ages 4-5, then again around 12. The feeling of being different is at the core of the shy child's distress. He is fearful of approaching new surroundings or people. He finds it difficult to assert himself in a group, though he likes to watch the others. This point of conflict between the child's fear and his desire to join in offers parents a teaching opportunity. John Malouff describes several strategies that parents can use to help children overcome shyness. He suggests trying several of them for about a month, then sticking with the strategies that work for you.
It's important to distinguish between shyness and social phobia. Experts disagree on the relation between shyness and social anxiety disorders of childhood. The primary difference is the severe anxiety symptoms and extreme avoidance of certain situations.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Play Series 7 : Structured Play

Play Series 7 : Structured Play 
Structured play, or "play with a purpose" is any activity that offers your preschooler a specific learning objective, whether it is learning a certain life skill (like teaching the months of the year) or working on important physical abilities (such as gross and fine motor skills. Structured play activities and games are generally instructor-led, meaning that a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult (or even an older sibling) sets the tone for the play and helping the preschooler meet their goals or by reviewing the learning objective.
African American mother and daughter playing with puzzle - ERproductions Ltd/Blend Images/Getty Images
ERproductions Ltd/Blend Images/Getty Images
Structured play, despite the serious and stiff-sounding name, is definitely giving kids a chance to have fun, it just has a lofty goal at its heart. Structured doesn't even have to be all that organized or formal. Even just teaching throwing by having your preschooler toss a ball into a laundry basket is a form of structured play. Other examples include:
  • board games
  • puzzles
  • sorting games
  • games that encourage following directions such as "Simon Says"
  • any type of class you may enroll your child in such as music
  • organized sports teams or classes such as soccer or swim
According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, preschoolers should accumulate at least one hour of structured physical activity every day. It can be hard for a preschooler to focus on one task for an hour, so many experts suggest breaking the play up in to smaller 15- or 20-minute chunks. This will also allow for a variety of activities throughout the day. Also, your preschooler is more likely to be interested in following the rules and paying attention to what it is you are trying to impart while you play.
For more on unstructured and structured play, check out Physical Activity and Fitness for Preschoolers.
Also Known As: Guided play, play with a purpose

Let us not be strict with our Little Children

Let us not be strict with our Little Children :

Do you ever wonder if you’re a little too strict with your child? Do you worry that your expectations may be too high? Do you question whether the consequences you give your child are just a bit too harsh? Here are 15 signs that you may be too strict with your child:

1. You Have a Zero Tolerance Policy

While it’s important to have clear rules, it’s equally important to recognize that there are always exceptions to the rules.
Rather than taking an authoritarian stance on everything, show a willingness to evaluate your child’s behavior in context of the circumstance.

2. Your Child Lies a Lot

While it’s normal for kids to stretch the truth sometimes, research is clear that harsh discipline turns kids into good liars. So if you’re too strict, your child is likely to lie about little things – as well as the big things – in an effort to avoid punishment.

3. Your Child has More Restrictions than Other Kids

There’s nothing wrong with having different rules than the other parents. But, if you’re always the strictest parent in the crowd, it could be a sign that you’re expectations are a bit too high.

4. You Have Little Patience for Silliness

Most kids love ridiculous jokes and silly games. And while those jokes can get old fast, and silly behavior can slow you down, it’s important to savor the moment and have fun sometimes.

5. You Struggle to Tolerate Other People’s Lack of Discipline

Strict parents often have difficulty tolerating everything from the way a teacher runs his classroom, to the way Grandma handles behavior problems.
It’s OK for kids to be exposed to adults who have different rules and different types of discipline.

6. You Have a Long List of Rules

Rules are good, but too many rules can be harmful. Keep your rules simple and only include the most important ones that you want your child to remember. Post your list of household rules in a place where you can refer to it as needed.

7. Your Child has Little Time for Fun

Many children with strict parents run from activity to activity with little downtime. While some structure is essential, it’s also important for kids to have free time.

8. You Don’t Allow for Natural Consequences

Strict parents often go to great lengths to avoid letting a child make a mistake. But, kids are often capable of learning from their mistakes when they face natural consequences.

9. You Nag a Lot

Nagging prevents kids from taking responsibility for their own behavior. If you find yourself nagging your child about everything from when to do her homework, to when she should practice playing the piano, she won’t learn to do those things on her own.

10. You Hand Out Directions Constantly

Constantly saying things like, “Sit up straight,” “Quit dragging your feet,” and “Don’t slurp your drink,” will cause your child to tune you out. Save your instructions for the most important issues so your voice will be heard.

11. You Don’t Offer Choices

Rather than ask, “Would you rather put your clothes away first or make your bed?” strict parents often bark orders. Giving kids a little freedom, especially when both choices are good ones, can go a long way to gaining compliance.

12. You Struggle to Let Your Child do Things Her Way

Sometimes strict parents insist children do everything a certain way. They insist on making the bed the ‘right way’ or playing with the doll house ‘appropriately.’ While there are times that kids need adult instruction, it’s important to allow for flexibility and creativity.

13. You Praise the Outcome and Not Your Child’s Effort

Strict parents usually don’t offer a lot of praise.  They reserve their affirmations for perfection, rather than their child’s effort. If you only praise your child for getting 100 on a test, or for scoring the most goals in the game, your child may think your love is conditional on high achievement.

14. You Make Outrageous Threats

While most parents are guilty of making an over-the-top threat once in a while, strict parents make outrageous threats on a regular basis. They often say things like, “Clean up your room right now or I’m throwing all your toys in the trash!’ Avoid making threats that you aren’t prepared to follow through with and make sure consequences are about disciplining, not punishing your child.

15. The Focus is Always On Learning

Strict parents often turn every activity into a mandatory lesson of some kind. Kids can’t color a picture without being quizzed on their colors, or they can’t play with a doll house unless they’re constantly reminded of proper furniture placement. Play itself gives an opportunity for imagination and creativity and can be a great escape from the normal structure and routine.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Play Series 6 - Constructive Play :

Play Series 6 - Constructive Play : 
Early childhood researchers believe there is a ladder young children climb developmentally that includes moving from one stage of play to another. The first stage is referred to as functional play, when children find simple pleasure in repeatedly moving objects and exploring toys or other playthings through their senses.
Constructive play is the next phase of play. In this stage, toddlers have a deep understanding of what various objects can do; they will now try to build things with the toys and everyday objects they find around them.
Thank You Longer Attention Span
At around 2 years of age children begin to have a longer attention span. This means your child is able to spend longer stretches sitting and focusing on activities with one set of toys. During this time of extended play, you may see your little one move from simple banging toys around to moving them with a purpose.
You can see this transition happen during block play, for instances. Following time spent in functional play activities with the blocks, you toddler knows how the block feels, that some are bigger than others, that if you lay one on a flat steady surface it won't fall. The next step, then is for her to start stacking the blocks on top of each other. Your child might build a basic tower and then place some Little People figures around it, showing that he's intended to create a house for his guys.
Encouraging Constructive Play
While toddlers are great at turning boxes, paper towels, and everyday objects into "toys," there are some great commercial toys that are good picks for children in this stage of development and beyond.
These include:
  • interlocking blocks like LEGO Duplo Building Sets or Lincoln Logs
  • art supplies such as crayons, paper, paints, scissors and glue playdough by itself or with just a few sculpting tools
  • sand and water table
Basically, look for toys and materials that promote open-ended play. This will give your child the freedom to construct things from his own imagination versus things that a game maker or artist has thought up.
Benefits of Play
When toddlers play with these open-ended materials, they have the chance to build many different skills. Here is a short list of some of what they can learn through constructive play.
  • By building with traditional and interlocking block, toddlers can recreate scenes from their life such as visiting the zoo, which helps them understand their world and process information.
  • Building in sand involves using one object to represent another, which is the first step toward abstract thinking.
  • Using art materials to create a picture or project gives toddlers practice using fine motor skills that they need to write and perform tasks such as buttoning clothes.
Also Known As: building play
Examples: My daughter loves to stack objects and make a hiding spot for her little dolls during constructive play.