Thursday, October 20, 2011

Developmentally Appropriate Playthings

When I was in school for Early Childhood, we became very familiar with the term "DAP" - which stood for developmentally appropriate practice. It meant that considering the child's developmental stage, rather than age, was vital for providing an exceptional education. The theory was woven into every class, every topic of discussion, every lesson plan, and every method of teaching. There was also a big emphasis on the toys and other playthings. I call this being aware of "developmentally appropriate playthings."

If you're ever looking for items to add to your home's play area, consider checking out this website for great ideas. Simple, wooden, non-commercialized toys are the absolute best for a child's imagination, attention span, and learning process. Costumes for dramatic play, "adult-looking" items for a kitchen area, various and creative manipulatives for cognitive development, math and science items, blocks...the list goes on.

When we purchase or accept toys for Little Olive, we try to make sure they will enhance her development instead of just lighting up, playing music, and simply "keeping her busy" for a few minutes. We think it's important to have toys that will force the child to think and be creative. (I know, we're so mean.) Even having an Elmo can inhibit good play. It comes with a name, a voice, a way of behaving, and a whole life's story - the child has no reason to think out of the box. These are just some things to consider with the holidays coming up.

Do you have any rules or guidelines regarding toys in your household?

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