Sunday, September 27, 2009

Extending Play

I had a great time last Friday morning on WLDY’s talk line program. We were talking about following a child’s lead in play. Julie Reinaas called in to share a few of her strategies for providing a structure and then following a child’s lead in a few favorite nursery rhymes.

She told us about doing the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme with a little boy. After he heard the story and pretended to jump down from a wall, he asked her for band-aides. He taped himself up with them and then pretended to sleep. When he ‘woke up’ he pretended to be all back together and ready to play Humpty Dumpty again.

This is a fantastic example of how to encourage children to extend their play. This little boy extended the play by using language to ask for bandaides. Next, he taped himself up, fixing Humpty Dumpty. Lastly, he extended the play by pretending to sleep and then woke up as though Humpty Dumpty was all back together again. He stayed focused for a very long time and because he was in charge of the play, he was excited to keep playing. Extending play is important because it helps children stay focused for longer and longer periods of time. The extension of play is one way that we can help children practice staying focused, an important learning tool.

Julie gave another example using the nursery rhyme, Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick. In this little rhyme, children can pretend to jump over a candlestick. When you play this game with your little one, be sure to use a 'safe' candlestick, such as a pretend one you might make out of a toilet paper roll.

Can you think of other ways of extending play in songs, fingerplays, nursery rhymes, or stories? Please send your ideas to or by calling 532-3209. I will save a musical toad for you that you can pick up at Janelle Thompson's Mad Cat Studio in Ladysmith! For ideas for songs and fingerplays, visit our little website, or visit the children's section of our beautiful library.

Toad House Publishing

Twinkletime Rhymes to Print

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