Saturday, May 31, 2014

Intentional Play: May (the wrap up)

I am very quietly having a breakdown.

Because the socks that once puddled around my son's ankles now adorn his doll, Baby. Because my son could never have been this impossibly small. Because I remember this day, emerging into the sunlight for the first time in a week after we'd brought him home.

Now he is the one applying bandaids.

It has been an interesting month of play. With my new job and Dear Boy now in childcare four days a week rather than two, we've had fewer moments to be intentional and many more moments of the mundane let's-go-eat-this-put-this-on-take-this-off-sweet-dreams. It has been sweeter than ever when we take those moments together to play.

I put together a doctor's kit for him and he's been happily dispensing medicine to all and sundry these last few weeks. He's also thinking in larger terms about the kinds of things that might make him feel better, not just when he hurts his knees (oh god, the knee-scraping!) but when his little spirit is flagging. "I'm sad," he cries out to me. "I need some bandaids for my tears, Mummy". I think those are called cuddles, my Dear Boy.

We've also been doing some body focused craft, including tracing around Dear Boy's body and painting this strange child-sized person. Dear Boy insisted on nipples and Daddy hair (ahem, chest hair, which he drew in himself). He's also learned a few of the 'other' body parts that don't get mentioned as much in songs - elbows, bottoms, cheeks, ankles, wrists, etc. For some reason he is struggling with the concept of an armpit. "But this is my arm, Mummy."

We've been singing lots of songs. Amongst his regular repertoire of 'ABC', 'Dinosaur Roar', and 'Old McDonald', we been having fun with 'Miss Polly Had a Dolly' and 'No More Cheeky Monkeys Jumping on the Bed'. The best body song, though, has been 'Simon Says' (The Wiggles version) which has had us both choosing which bits to include and some wiggly dancing in the interludes.

Although we've included some discussions about it, I would have liked to have focused a little more on healthy habits like eating good food and doing more physical activities. I'm looking out for some more 'let's get moving' type songs where we can stay active inside over the coming winter. Part of the problem here is new work and less time together but the other is that I've let me own healthy habits slide too. I know I really need to get it back into gear, work out how to use the time I have for myself and for him to be a good model for that kind of healthy behaviour - that I take the time to keep myself healthy and strong. It's so easy to let that fall away in all the busy-busy nothingness of our days.

One of the best resources for ideas has been the Sesame Street website, which has tool kits for parents/carers on various themes, including 'Healthy Teeth, Happy Me' and 'Healthy Habits for Life'. Each kit has printouts with games and activities, songs, posters and charts on each theme - essentially road maps for folks who are interested in themed play or learning or are having trouble teaching their kids something in particular. Interestingly, there's also kits for military families, preparing for emergencies, recovering from emergencies, Arab culture, financial difficulties and saving money. I think I'll dip in again over the next few months where appropriate.

Next month we move into Winter and all things brrrrrr. I expect I probably should have saved this one for July or August as I'm keen to take Dear Boy to see some snow but we can always delay our special expedition. I was very tempted to arrange a dentist appointment for dear Boy as this month's outing but that seemed just a little cruel and much more like hard work for me. We've worked on brushing every day - that's enough for now.

Have you found any great resources for teaching or playing with your kids? How do you go with modelling healthy habits for your children?


  1. I always feel out of ideas...but you just gave me some nice ones. Our boy is only just gwtting his words together, and is so active that things like lieing down and tracing bodies is probably too..slow for him but wgen hes a bit older would be lovely . Great website tip too thanks.

    1. Dear Boy kept trying to squirm around and look at whatever bit I was tracing around. Took a fair bit of convincing that there was an end-point I was trying to reach - but it could have just as easily broken down into a tickle fest, which would have been fun as well. Hope you have some lovely 'health' themed play. Thanks for stopping by.


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