As we have been collecting materials and exploring different ways of collecting we’ve discovered how much our Shale friends also enjoy exploring sensory play. We have meshed collecting with sensory experiences, combining milk jugs cut in half with water beads, opening up our tuna cans in our dramatic area and making tuna sandwiches, or collecting shells and pine cones and then painting with them.
A lot of our Shale friends are also getting older and becoming more and more interested in taking risks and participating in rough and tumble play. With some friends becoming interested in these types of play, our younger observers are growing an interest as well.
“Six categories of risky play • Great heights. Children climb trees and other structures to scary heights, from which they gain a birds-eye view of the world and the thrilling feeling of I did it!. • Rapid speeds. Children swing on vines, ropes, or playground swings; slide on sleds, skis, skates, or playground slides; shoot down rapids on logs or boats; and ride bikes, skateboards, and other devices fast enough to produce the thrill of almost but not quite losing control. • Dangerous tools. Depending on the culture, children play with knives, bows and arrows, farm machinery (where work and play combine), or other tools known to be potentially dangerous. There is, of course, great satisfaction in being trusted to handle such tools, but there is also thrill in controlling them, knowing that a mistake could hurt. • Dangerous elements. Children love to play with fire, or in and around deep bodies of water, either of which poses some danger. • Rough and tumble. Children everywhere chase one another around and fight playfully, and they typically prefer being in the most vulnerable position—the one being chased or the one underneath in wrestling–the position that involves the most risk of being hurt and requires the most skill to overcome. • Disappearing/getting lost. Little children play hide and seek and experience the thrill of temporary, scary separation from their companions. Older ones venture off, on their own, away from adults, into territories that to them are new and filled with imagined dangers, including the danger of getting lost.” (Risky Play: Why children love it and need it, 2014)
With our Shale friends we are aiming our risky play more towards rough and tumble play, great heights, and disappearing/getting lost. We have a lot of climbers in our group and we are trying to implement and improve space for them to climb and explore ways of climbing within our classroom. We know ‘rough and tumble’ can be understood as wrestling, fighting and generally having a bad reputation. It is also generalized as ‘a boys way to play’. It’s our job as Educators and parents to model rough and tumble as a way to express playful, gross motor, social play that involves everyone. It’s likely you and your family have expressed rough and tumble play on a day to day basis; tickling, tossing in the air, letting the children climb on your body, these are all forms of rough and tumble play. This play begins at a very young age and progresses as the children age. In Shale, it’s letting the children have the freedom to interact in a safe environment, with us watching closely for facial cues of discomfort or unhappiness. As they age, rough and tumble play becomes more elaborate, usually involving imaginary dramatic play, as well as need for explanation of emotions from educators and parents. Have a happy and safe weekend!
Emily, Young, Sarah, and Cassi