What does everyday afternoon play look like in your house? Hmmm our house you ask?Oh, you would be surprised but what we can accomplish. Very little of it is on his own if any at all. Typically, Liam is the type of child that is on the go and wants to go somewhere all the time. This is partially my doing because we were on the go a lot to make the toddler days easier. Thus Liam has a hard time just chillin’ at home and playing with his awesome toys! My husband and I have realized how important this play is to his development but it doesn’t come easily. So afternoon can be a challenge, but one we understand is necessary at this point. (Liam’s ABA therapy is also supposed to helped with play skills at home!)
This afternoon, I managed to document and photograph what we did as we did it. Freely unstructured (and not instructed just so I could write this!). I kind of realized it might make a fun post as we went along the afternoon. These activities were over the course of a couple hours. It was rainy and eventually the power went out and came back on a couple hours later! There was whininess, impatience, frustration, happiness, excitement and silliness to be had by all. If he is into the play idea, he stays with it for quite awhile, but often times he can’t get into play to make it really work! Mommy and daddy have to be super excited about it and overly into it as well!
Busy hands are my favorite!
Here’s our activities:
- Reading books: Us to him and him to us! He loves being read to but we are also trying to encourage some independent looking at books or even making up a story for us about the pictures. This way he has to work a little harder and hopefully gain some independence! He does know pretty much all the books by heart!
- Dragon sensory bin: He asked for it, so I put it on his play table. He spent a good deal of time (for him anyway) looking at the dragons, talking to the dragons, playing with the gems, and scooping sand into the funnel and jar.
- Magna doodle activities: He did some drawing on his own and then daddy got him interested in making patterns with the stamps. Circle, flower, circle , flower etc. I also gave them some dice and had Liam role the dice, add them up and stamp out how many he counted.
- Science experiment: This is a weekly afternoon staple for us! I had seen some different posts on mixing oil and water, so while they magna doodled, I set up the tray for us to do together. Check out the full post on that (here). He loves experiments because they usually have a cool and/or exciting outcome that he can really see. He is very visual!
- Lego building: This is a special treat for daddy to do with Liam. Daddy loves legos and wants Liam to love legos too! However, they are a little too free form for Liam and he often doesn’t engage in them for very long. However, we have been buying these Lego Creator Sets and we keep them neatly stored in the original box. This way they can sit down and build exactly what is on the box together. This afternoon they spent quite a long time putting a little set together. (I may be that mom hunting down lego pieces and keeping zip top bags everywhere!)
- Everything but the kitchen sink rice bin play: He decided to go into the drawers and cupboards and find stuff to fill his rice bin with for food play. Mixing, filling, scooping and dumping. I think he baked a cake and some honey nuts, but whatever it was, he was busy on his own off and on for just a bit!
Yes, the photos are terrible and straight from my phone. In this case I think it is the beauty of it, capturing it without causing interference or looking for great lighting or trying to do it over again that makes it all ok! You get the point !
WOW, what an afternoon! It was filled with so many lessons while not actually doing any preplanned, thought out activities for math, science, literacy, practical life or fine motor skills work. We had sensory work and pretend play, reading and talking about pictures and words, patterning and counting, fine motor practice and problem solving, experimenting and observing, and practical life pouring! That is a bunch of stuff to cover in a couple hours without actually thinking about it and using ordinary toys or items you probably already have. I am truly amazed at how many simple play experiences can build on so many “school” topics. The world around provides so much for a 2-5 year old to discover and learn without a curriculum so to speak.
With that said, Our afternoons are not always this shining example of “unschooling” moments. It just seemed to work out a bit perfectly on this particular day but it did take a lot of “on” time from mom and dad, especially my husband, who did much of the play and let me do some writing. I would absolutely love if Liam always enjoyed to play like this and we could share life lessons with him while we played, but we aren’t quite there yet! Is it really typical, no probably not! Would we want it to become more typical? You bet! At the end of the day, it is up to us to make sure we are recharged to start over again and do play our way!