Children love to imagine and to explore what might happen in different situations and if they approach scenarios in different ways using different knowledge, skills and equipment.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
Sometimes play doesn’t even need to be about the final outcome or product it can just be about the processes used and the journey towards the final outcome. Playing things through (or rehearsing them) is a really important way in which we learn, we do it as adults too when we draft an email or visualise a meeting or presentation before we press send or carry out the task, we might go through how using different words or trying different techniques might alter the outcome of the actual event. Children are doing the same thing playing with possibilities to see whether they feel comfortable with particular strategies or ideas.
Adults welcome by invitation only
Having a space that’s their own particularly if children believe that adults can’t see or hear them gives them permission to explore their imagination and creativity in a safe and released environment.
Children love creating dens and hideouts so help them to collect groundsheets, large scarves, cushions and rugs to create and furnish spaces. Then make sure you have a stash of paper, pens and pencils, musical instruments, torches, books, story CDs and CD players that the children can easily transport, assemble and tidy up with the minimum of input from you.
A collection of empty cardboard boxes, string, pegs or varying sizes and masking tape is another great one to have as your children will then have a wealth of opportunities for creating the things they need to bring their play to life. A few key provocations (like the interchangeable walls of the POD) and some books and items related to the theme and the children will quickly get lost in imaginative play exploring what they already know and what they would like to find out.
Helping children to create defined spaces for themselves gives them a place to think, to calm down if they become upset or agitated and a space for posing and solving puzzles and problems that is safe, inviting and encouraging of them driving their own learning journeys.
Don’t go too far away
Even though children love the idea of a space that’s theirs there are going to be times when they want you around, that might be to join in a game, to answer a question, help solve a problem or just chill and talk. Be prepared to jump in and do whatever’s asked of you. If you don’t know the solution to a problem or the answer to a question do some research together and show your child that it’s okay not to have the answer to everything just as long as you have the confidence to find out.
Enabling children to have their own space to play, explore and work through ideas on their own terms whilst being there to support them when they need us will help them to develop into independent, resilient and confident adults.
How our PODs can help
Popup inflatable PODs provide the perfect solution to a truly immersive experience on an enclosed space into which adults and older siblings must be invited. The remote controlled colour changing lights provide a relaxing atmosphere and a wide range if interchangeable themes will spark all manner of imaginative adventures and opportunities to talk, ask questions to spark further investigation and to role play.
The soft structure soothing lights and enclosed space of the PODs lends itself to the addition of mats and cushions to create a welcoming space that can be used as a relaxed chill out zone both indoors and out.