- 2 mins
3 Easy Ways to Play Every Day
I got the opportunity to speak with Dr. Mary Benson McMullen, Ph.D., professor of early childhood education at Indiana University and co-author of Infants and Toddlers at Play: Choosing the Right Stuff for Learning and Development. Her passion for early childhood, supporting future teachers, and educating families really showed through. She is especially dedicated to the human experience and the bond between caregivers and children. We talked specifically about play, which is the focus of her book and a topic that has been elevated during the pandemic, as kids are more socially isolated.
She stressed that educators and families don’t need an excess of equipment and expensive objects to play with. Since humans are social creatures, the best play is relational play, especially when it comes to social-emotional learning for kids. This can be adult-child play or child-child play. Play is fun when it’s with a person you connect with, regardless of the money you spend, the space you have, and the objects you own.
Dr. McMullen gave three ways to play with kids every day:
Think about all of the ways we communicate and how communication can be playful. Use gestures, facial expressions, and an excited voice. Encourage a back and forth by asking questions, having kids add more details, and exaggerating describing words (like enormously humongous instead of big). These conversations can happen during routine parts of the day, like eating meals, taking a bath, or commuting from place to place.
Reading and storytelling
This is where fun words, like jiggly, wiggle, and flippy-floppy come into play. Choose books that are playful and whimsical and that introduce concepts that are for pure fun. Storytelling does not need to be a formal story that you commit to memory. It can be a story from your childhood, about your culture, or something that just happened today. The important thing to remember is the elevation of playful words, gestures, and voices.
Using common objects
If you’ve ever been around a 2 or 3-year-old, you know that they can turn any common object into a toy. A keyring jingles, a pan, and wooden spoon bang, and a colorful scarf glides to the ground when thrown in the air. Look around your environment, whether classroom or home, and find familiar objects that can be used safely for play. Look for things that make noise, have bright colors, and can be easily manipulated by small children.
She left me with this – The most important thing is to connect with children on a human level.
Moshi Stories have an abundance of fun words, whimsical themes, and playful characters. For those of you with kids in early childhood, Moshi Stories are great for mid-day naps and bedtime, as they help kids focus while staying calm and ready to move from awake to sleep.
Moshi Sounds are great ways to play with kids as they offer an opportunity to practice listening and storytelling skills. There are sounds of Calming Moshi Camp Fire, Moshi Airways, Oobla Doobla Drums and many more. Listen to a Moshi Sound; act out and tell a story using that sound.