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Karen Brennan
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Simplified Play—trial and error and the sense of touch

Monday, January 20, 2014

Do you know that there is a wonderful Simplicity Parenting website and blog (and facebook page, too), and that you can, if you want, sign up for the Simplicity Parenting newsletter that comes out once a month? This month, one of our parent-child mom’s, Erica, has an article in the newsletter about her own Simplifying journey, including an adorable photo of her adorable children!

Have you taken on a small doable change?  How is it going?  I am enjoying my 15 minutes of decluttering, although I have changed it from daily to 5 times a week—some days I am just too busy or tired to spend even 15 minutes on this, but I would like to keep at it for a while, at least.

And we continue on our journey through Chapter 3—let’s look at the section on simplified play.  As we have discussed before, children don’t need a lot of toys, but they do need a lot of unstructured time.  “Sometimes we parents help most by getting out of the way, while being available.”  We can give our child the freedom to make their own decisions in play and progress at their own pace.  Kim writes about the importance of trial and error in the learning of a young child.  Anyone who has watched a child learn to roll over, sit up, walk  or talk has seen this.  He also writes about the rise in sensory integration therapy.  “There has been a dramatic rise in “sensory integration” therapy in the past ten year, which strives to build neural connections and pathways that were not established naturally through these early childhood activities.  In our hurry to have our children walk, or in our anxiousness to serve them, we may cause them to skip stages essential for neural development.”  When we give our child the opportunity to play and progress at her own pace, we allow our child to unfold in her own unique way and follow her own inner wisdom.  We foster the child’s curiosity, attention, perseverance and will.

Another important way young children learn is through the sense of touch.  When they are really little, they use their most sensitive organ of touch—their mouths.  The sense of touch both creates an awareness of the world around them and also helps them develop a sense of their own boundaries, a sense of self and other.  In this section, Kim speaks about giving the child access to natural materials to give them rich sensory experiences.  He includes not only toys, but playing in nature, cooking and baking and working with real, child sized tools in the kitchen, garden and workshop.

Next week, we will finish this section on simplified play and then move on to books, clothes, scent and lighting.  If you have any ideas to share or questions about any of these, bring them to class.  We would love to hear what’s on your mind and in your heart.