Saturday 14 December 2013

The Sunday Parenting Party - Winter Wonderland or Winter Battlefield?

 (Goblin is 4 years old)
The other day I started despairing. I'd left Goblin a Winter wonderland invitation to play. It has cute winter animals, a lovely mirror lake, glitter playdough and glass beads. I'd been really pleased with how lovely it looked.
When Goblin found it in the morning he looked excited. Yey! I thought, for about two seconds. Then he carefully removed each of the animals and replaced them with military tanks. Seriously? Even my beautiful winter wonderland has to be turned into a battlefield. What is it with my son and war play?
He is fascinated by vehicles, and since visiting Duxford Imperial War Museum military vehicles are his particular fascination, but somehow I had fooled myself into thinking that the magic of Christmas and my sweet snow scene would change his modus operandi.
So I sat and silently fumed for a while that he wasn't playing as cutely as I'd hoped. But when I stopped feeling so aggrieved that I was unable to direct his play to what I considered appropriate for the set up, I noticed what he was doing. He'd fetched his Tank Spotters guide and he was looking up his toys to check which tanks he was placing in his battle.
How could I stay annoyed when my son was educating himself, and using a book even though he can't read. So I got over the idea that my creation shouldn't be sullied with shooting and banging, and instead embraced the child led element. We had a lovely chat about the Second World War and Russia's involvement. We talked about how cold it must have been and how many Russian soldiers weren't properly trained.  And then we had a 'snow ball' fight and buried all the tanks.
My take away lesson is not to assume my child will play with something the way I would. And that following my child's lead can actually lead to learning I may never have initiated myself. 

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  1. I know how you feel! Why doesn't my child want to paint their tree green? Trees aren't pink! It's hard to give up control when I plan an activity or craft, but I have to remind myself that it isn't supposed to be about me.

  2. I too have learned recently to just sit back and watch and let my son take the reigns, it's so interesting to watch what he does when I'm not 'directing' things.

  3. This made me laugh! I love how our kids continually TEACH US how to have open ended play. My toddler has taught me several lessons! :) I can see him doing something like this's actually pretty adorable to see their interests growing distinctly different from us. They are becoming quite unique individuals!


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