How do you learn best? When you get a new gadget, do you read the instruction manual or ask a friend? Or do you just fiddle about with it until you figure out how it works?
Children are the same. They like to experiment, to explore and to destruction test. They learn by doing. It's why I chose The 100 Toys Guide to Independent Play to be our first book. Having the confidence to work things out for yourself is vital.
You have to learn to see. What is this new situation? Based on what I already know, what's the most likely answer? What's the quickest, most efficient way to find out?
Being good at this comes down to asking yourself the right questions. As adults, we have learnt to do this, but children need a little help. Your role is simple. Ask good questions. Why do you think your tower toppled over? What could you do to make it stronger next time? Are some blocks better than others for building sturdy towers? Why is that? If you could make your own blocks, how would you make them better?
This kind of questioning encourages critical thinking, the undisputed superpower for children and adults alike.
What good question could you ask your child today?
Here's the rest of the series:
Encourage open-ended play for creativity and focus
Understanding schema play in toddlers
Independent play and why it matters
Insider Guide: Small World Play and Language
Tell Almost Any Story with Just a Handful of Figures
A simple guide to choosing the right toy