Keep It Simple: Learning Through Play

Even before becoming a parent I never saw much point in the hardcore ‘teaching’ of babies and young toddlers. If I see a baby ‘reading’ on an infomercial mostly I just feel like a) I can’t be the only person who sees that this is only memorization and not comprehesion and b) how much boring work does that seem for a parent? A lot. Also, I feel sad for that baby. Because if you can’t just live life and soak it up as you go when you are an infant, you might as well just hang ’em up now.

The whole learning through play philosophy makes a lot of sense to me. Certainly there comes a time where learning takes on a more academic tone, but I am sure it’s not when the child is 16 months old. So until we get to times tables (are they still called that?!) and such, I take a page from Dr. Harvey Karp and stick with the daily routine of creative play, outdoor play and reading.

I wrote these simple words on a card and taped it to the wall so that I can have a little inspiration as I battle through the mid-morning slump. The slump is mine, not hers. Caffeine helps. But not enough.

Reading is easy, we read every day without even having to think about it. We read when we wake up, we read before bed. We read when she is on the verge of a meltdown and the only thing that can prevent her from slapping her own face is the catchy beat of ‘The Foot Book.’ Check reading off the list. (I am the only one who LOVES checking things off the list…possibly adding them to the list after they’ve already been accomplished only to have the satisfaction of crossing it off?!)

We went outside for a nature walk. My plan was for her to pick up different items: a leaf, a flower, a rock, a stick. All the wonders of nature. Her plan was to pick up 40 rocks. All similar shades of gray.

I thought we could go outside in the snow after a storm left us with a foot of the best snow-man making material the atmosphere has to offer. She cried hysterically when I set her down in the white stuff. We brought some snow inside instead, cancelling outdoor play for creative play. We buried balls and spoons and straws in the snow and she ate her way to the bottom.

We upcycled newspaper to make a canvas. I made sure the crossword was still visible so I could entertain myself. Mothers need creative play, too.

4 thoughts on “Keep It Simple: Learning Through Play

  1. Love the idea of bringing snow inside! Should have thought of that after the fiasco of bringing Una out in the snow her first winter :). Although it would have probably given Mark a stroke, he is very protective of his wooden floor.

  2. I was wondering about that newspaper in the background while we were Skyping 🙂 I love rocks too V. We can collect them together ALL summer!

  3. sounds like a ton of fun – and yes, very “learning” experiences too! i’m of a similar philosophy, and may just recycle some of these ideas (including the indoor snow!) for meeka when she’s of the age to enjoy them 🙂

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