Engaging vs Entertaining
…………This is part 2. For the first alternative Play Activities Holiday Gift Guide #1 :Activity & time
There are so many more things to do in the day now more than ever. There are more toys and heavier marketing. The quality of toys are truly amazing. As a result there are so many more chances to buy toys and give kids things to do that ENTERTAIN them rather than engage them.
We all love a little entertainment and frankly so does your child but what their brains, bodies and muscles really crave is engagement.
From when they are lying on your lap and you are talking in that high pitched ‘I love you’ speak. You see their arms and legs moving about. They are engaging and trying to communicate. Their faces lights up when you appear. That same baby notices that you’ve moved the mobile from the left of the crib because it’s gone now as they lay there. The toddler pinches the bottle tops between fingers and tries to pick it up, again and again or the preschooler bites his lip while managing the scissors for the cut.These experiences are what truly impact your child’s learning. When they are engaging. The motivation is coming from them.
Another way of looking at it is Active vs passive learning. Kids need more active learning than the passive learning that most of them get. By active I don’t mean they have to be scheduled for classes but active that they are participating, using their bodies. Classes aren’t bad over scheduling our kids is the problem.
There are lots of engaging activities that calm and can be a very effective babysitter. Encouraging creativity and concentration without requiring them to be passive. Play like, playdough and clay, sticker books and puzzles, Magna Doodles, lacing and water play.
How do you manage the engage vs entertain dance?
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Your Therapy Source Inc says
With four children in our house and limited screen time I have a collection of ideas that work indoors in our house:
1. water play
2. beans and rice in a big bucket on a large sheet (for easy clean up)
5. Anything with glue
6. building blocks (move them into the room that you are working in)
7. change toys out periodically (we luckily have a large home and I can put toys away)
8. eye droppers, colored water and paper towels on a large tray
9. shaving cream on a table (smelly though)
10. setting up different themed areas (i.e. pet store, school, house) in a different room than the traditional playroom.
For some reason, my children spend NO time in our actual playroom. We have a large room with nothing in it and they literally spend all of their time in that room. They create dances, make stores, do plays all in this empty room. Reminds me of the empty cardboard box theory!
Thanks for the suggestions. What a bumper pack! How cool that they have a giant cardboard box…….our playroom wish I could say the same.
aaron Shaw Phd says
We try to engage our kids as much as possible, but with six, it can be tough!