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November 21, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
I am by turns amazed, humbled and delighted at how easily amused my 2 1/2 year old daughter is.
This morning, she spent 20 minutes playing with a Matchbox car and a rubber jar gripper.
Yesterday, while I spent a few minutes catching up with her daycare supervisor, Emma amused herself by pretending a nearby shelf was a bunk bed for her baby doll. She talked to the doll in a sing-song "Mommy" voice while she got the blankie situated and tucked her in.
"I will always love just standing back and watching kids play," the daycare supervisor whispered to me.
We have a set of nesting blocks from Discovery Toys that Emma could play with for hours. She builds a tower -- she learned lightning-quick how to build it using the largest to the smallest block -- then destroys it, coming up with a variety of demolition techniques. My favorite is when she uses her belly as a wrecking ball.
Then, she makes a train with it by placing the blocks in a line. Next, it becomes a path with steps, and she goes up and down the different size blocks with a Little People person or whatever is handy -- a finger puppet, a car, even a piece of string!
Her narration and dialogue crack me up. She intertwines words she has heard Mommy and Daddy say, phrases from movies, lyrics from songs and her own private language to create scenarios complete with set-up, conflict and resolution.
A child's work is play, I've often heard. Her imagination at this age is her BFF. Five days a week, Emma plays mostly by herself or with an adult (who, speaking for myself, sometimes lack in the creative play department). I am grateful for her two days at daycare, where she gets much-needed face time with children her size (well, almost her size -- she's takes after her dad, so her peers come up to about her nose). She also learns finger plays, does crafts, listens to books, learns manners, sings songs and dances with those friends under the direction of other adults, whom she is learning to respect.
But I also am glad for those times she plays alone and creates her own little world. Like her daycare provider, I don't think I'll ever tire of watching Emma "at work."
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