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78. Start With The Child

Sep 19, 2020 • 7 min read
Start with the child

Have you ever had a brilliant idea an activity but your child showed no interest?

Have you played a game which you hoped would be fun but your child needed so much support that all momentum was lost.

What went wrong?

You didn't start with the child.

You know, of course, that you have to find something that sparks their imagination. But an activity can't be successful unless it's also at the right level. This is a subtle thing. A small gap in their knowledge can render a seemingly simple activity impossible.

This is one of the reasons I'm against a lot of those Pinterest-friendly activities where the adult has decided what the final outcome is going to be. A paper-plate face where the hair and eyes have to be positioned just so; a tissue-paper mosaic which is only right if you copy the one in the photo. These activities take no account of what the child would like to do and there is often a step that is beyond their capabilities. Having an adult anxiously hovering over you, correcting your mistakes and chiding you for your lack of care is guaranteed to kill your enthusiasm.

Far better to offer the same materials but allow your child to decide the final outcome. A paper plate and some collage materials might become something far more creative and unexpected, but no less of a learning experience.

It can be fun to try out a pre-determined craft activity, especially at Halloween and Christmas. Just don't get too attached to the finished product.

Alexis

I'm Alexis, father of four and founder of One Hundred Toys. I taught in London primary schools for thirteen years, specialising in the early years. Now I write about all things play here on the blog. Read more

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