Pretend and Real Car Washes
What a wonderful visit with Little Guy this week!! Whenever we are privileged to spend time with him, it's a bit like a play date!
He is enamored of car washes. Yes, I said "car washes." We looked through the animal encyclopedia and the robot book, played cars and car wash on his floor-size city map and indulged in lots of silly word-play with the Boss. But the highlight of the day was watching Handyman Hal's Educational Kids Show about a car wash - Little Guy was mesmerized.
He is so fascinated by car washes, my Daughter built a backyard mud kitchen where he can play with his toy cars in the mud followed by a quick trip through a car wash made up of a bucket of water and LOTS of pretend. Hours of pretend play!
Recently, Little Guy accomplished a significant milestone in life; when asked what he wanted to do as a celebration, he chose going through the car wash. Five times! Thankfully my Daughter has a pass to the local car wash operated by people who really enjoyed - and supported -- Little Guy's delight in going through the wash over and over.
Little Guy is learning so much through his pretend play about car washes, as well as when he goes through a real car wash or watches one on the screen. This kind of learning allows him to experience cause and effect over and over. He is also experiencing the physics and mechanics that go into a car wash. And when he builds a pretend one with his blocks for his toy cars or helps the adults in the room pretend to be sprayers and brushes as he moves through the "car wash," he is experimenting with concepts of relative size.
This is why play is so critically important! By playing and pretending, children are controlling their exploration of the world and the new ideas and concepts they experience everyday.
Creating Opportunities for Moments of Joy
As much as we enjoy playing and pretending with our Little Guy, we know he also needs time to play with other children. Free-play and play which is a bit more structured.
Play dates offer many opportunities for social-emotional development, intellectual growth, as well as gross and fine motor skill progress. Focused, purposeful play dates create strong bonds between children, but the trick is to do so without over-managing their time together. Or creating too much stress for parents. Play dates are about fun and joy for everyone.
“WE ARE CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MOMENTS OF JOY & FUN” – tattoo this motto on your arm or post it where you will see it often. If you are stressed about the play date, your child will also be stressed.
Recently, I created some themed play-date ideas; feel free to download either or both and to share with others. Certainly, parents can develop their own themes and plans, but it's nice to have some ideas and support at the ready.
Enjoy your next car wash!