What is Play?

6 Mar

What is “playing” for a near-3 yr old?

Anything that she wants to do – it could be play-acting, knocking about a football or a balloon in the living room, making clay-models with her, having a shared story-telling session or running around with her in the nearby park. In fact I don’t think I have ever consciously thought about “playing” with her. It’s always been about being around her, ensuring she is having fun. For eg: When crawling around as tigers stops being fun, we might break into an impromptu jig. She loves singing and dancing and music is almost always present. She has her favorites, to which we sing and dance together, with gay abandon.

Our story-telling sessions typically start with a book selected by Disha and the story is often read/narrated multiple times. We recently audio-recorded one such story-narration and Disha had a blast while playing back the audio, speaking out aloud with the recording at various times while pointing at the relevant page in the book.

Disha rides her bicycle with Appa

We go on cycle-rides often, with Disha sitting in a baby-seat in the front. These end up being incredibly fun, with both of us singing aloud at the top of our voices. These songs are often made up on the go, incorporating things we see on the the road – cows, cycles, cars, trees etc.

She loves it when I talk about eating her “poppai” (Disha-tongue for “thoppai – the tamizh word for stomach”) – tickling her, pointing out various locations in her stomach where her food might have ended up at.

When we go for walks, she loves sitting astride my shoulders and touching the leaves of the trees that we pass by. Sometimes we break into a run and make her mom chase us down. Sometimes we run up to her mom, touch her and then run away, screaming away in delight.

“What is Play?” originally appeared on AskAmma.

Karthik works in a semiconductor company in Bangalore and is passionate about issues such as natural learning, unconditional parenting, human rights and environmentalism and spends his spare time volunteering with the Association for Indias Development (www.aidindia.org). He also likes to pop up in random seminars and workshops conducted around Bangalore with his camera. He loves to write on issues close to his heart and blogs occassionally at caughtatmidwicket.


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