Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Working in the Zone

I am reading Awakening Children's Minds. It is a fabulous book and is giving me 'permission' to work with Andrew where he is at developmentally. You have to 'get past' the age labels in the book and just look at the progression when you have a child who is 'behind." It is explaining a lot to me. Several years ago, I bought a ton of board games because Andrew was the age on the box. As I am reading the book I am discovering how you need to establish imaginary play well before you can 'rule play.' Many times therapies will try to teach rules and that can indeed be done but the child will not be as actively involved in the game as if you waited until they are ready. They need to 'play with rules' through imaginary play and then are comfortable playing by the rules. So Andrew is clearly moving toward games thought imaginary play.

When Andrew was about two years old we received two batches of Brio and Thomas train tracks that probably are worth several hundred dollars. All boys love trains..right? Well, not exactly. There they sat in the box year after year. We'd get them out to play with them a time or two and back they would go. They are in plain site so we have easy access to them. Andrew is well into pretend play. He builds cities out of blocks, lines up figurines to be in a parade (vs. just lining them up,) and then acts out elaborate scenes. I decided to try to incorporate the trains tonight and build a track together.

How did it go?

I started it as a guided participation / regulatory exercise where I would hand him a piece and he would put it in and then ideally we would switch roles. I should have thought through things a bit better; this is the first time we were doing this exercise and to end on MY terms I should have stuck to maybe 3 pieces of track. He took over and as I write this is designing his own track. I walked away at one point and pouted (loudly) at which point he said, "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I just want to do it my way." He did just call me in to play on his "Andrew Express" LOL! We still struggle w/ the m/a relationship. I think all folks do at some level. If they don't then perhaps you just have a robot. He is however clearly in imaginary play. We do that together at other times- but it is nice also that he is developing the ability to play by himself nicely as well.

In any event, it is thrilling to see the progress the imagination and simply to see God at work.


Val said...

love it when kids play by themselves...rarely happens here! But I know exactly what you are talking about. My kids have always been used to mom (AVT style) right there teaching/playing...so we are working on them playing w/out mom and together, it's harder than I thought. Love the Andrew Express

The Glasers said...

I am so excited for you. And he apologized to you for taking over the setup! WOW!

I used to wonder why Pamela was not into games yet. Awakening Children's Minds explained it so well . . . "rule games" are the play of older children. Developmentally she is not quite there yet! What a relief!!!

Kris! said...

As an avid gamer and dismaying that my sons could not play some of the more interesting games (Eurogames) according to the box age, I came to terms with their whole inability to sit and focus for long periods of time. Yet over the past year I have loved to see ds#1 get better and better at these more sophisticated games. It's funny how you find learning and maturing in unlikely places.

MasterpieceMom said...

I love when our kids show us their brains are growing and changing. We work with them, worry about them and sometimes it takes months to see progress, but when we do....Ahhhhhh, Bliss!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the way he said, "I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but I wanted to do things my own way." I think that was a sign that you did the right thing in giving up control of the activity and fading into the background. :-) Love the "Andrew Express" too!

I am reading the same book (slowly), after having seen it on Tammy's blog a year ago. I love the way you explain your insights and how they relate to real life play.

Shez said...

Your son is so much more tactful than my twins. They have banned me from playing trains with them. I loved it when they were too young to build tracks because I got to build splendid set ups. Now I have to sneak set ups at night and have them wake up to them in the morning. My two are still crazy about the wooden stuff,even though they've "graduated" to electric ones.

Glad you liked the marble painting. that's been a favorite in our home for many years.

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