One activity, four ways ~ I am often asked how to modify an activity idea or resource for children who are younger or older than Immy, or how to involve children of different ages with an activity. One activity, four ways takes one idea (or resource) and presents ways for engaging babies, toddlers, preschoolers and bigger kids with it.
Today’s resource is… Mirrors!
Immy (4 months) looking at herself in the mirror attached to her play gym.
Babies are fascinated by faces and hanging a safety mirror beside your baby’s change table or play mat enables them to look and see themselves. They won’t recognise who they see but will still be fascinated by the face looking back at them.
From Playful Ideas for 1 to 2 Year Olds, Issue 3 of Play Grow Learn, available here:
“1 and 2 year olds are just beginning to use their imagination to assume familiar roles and simple dress-ups they can easily and independently put on and take off encourage this playful role-playing. Start your dress up collection with a variety of interesting hats. Collect old caps, sun hats and beanies, and keep an eye out for interesting hats (for example, a cowboy hat or workers helmet) in thrift stores or op shops.
A collection of bags of different types and sizes will encourage your toddler’s love of carting things around. Pop in an old mobile phone or wallet and soon they will be pretending to talk on the phone while doing the shopping.”
Adding a mirror to your dress up play space will encourage development of self awareness and is just plain fun!
An Antarctic themed mini play scene
The image and light reflecting properties of mirrors make them a wonderful addition to all types of table play for preschoolers. Create a play scene with mini figurines upon a flat mirror, or use it as the base for constructing with plastic blocks or pattern blocks (coloured shapes). Alternatively, affix a mirror (or series of mirrors) to the wall directly in line with the tabletop so that all manner of play is illuminated and reflected.
Immy’s self portrait (4.5 years)
Offer a mirror, drawing pad and your choice of drawing or painting tools as an invitation to create and as an introduction to drawing from observation:
“As a child expresses a self-motivated desire for more realism in their images, introducing the idea of drawing from direct observation helps them to see more detail in objects from their world. The child may focus on the colours, shapes or obvious lines of the object and try to translate these to their drawing and it is this process of seeing and doing that is more important than any finished product.”
~ Art Not Craft eBook, available here
Sharing pictures of the self portraits of the great master artists can provide a basis for interesting discussion with older children and help them to realise that there is no one way to see or make a picture of themselves.