toddlers - invitation to play with blocksI am a huge fan of the blog Play at Home Mom.  The moms who write the blog believe in play based learning and are really inspiring.  I recently came across their post about “invitations to play” and it made a huge impression on me.  “An invitation to play is a way to either build upon existing knowledge and delve deeper into the interests and curiosities of our children, or a way to inspire engaged exploration.”  I have been doing so many activities with Gigi that I knew were worthwhile, but somehow reading this really helped me understand a deeper level of the importance of her play.  The idea of an “invitation” has challenged me to create interesting open ended activities and to be less attached to the outcome.  It’s been really nice.  I’ve been using a white board to set up different materials that I hope are engaging to her.  It’s really nice because I can set them up in the morning while she’s still sleeping, which gives me time to have a clear head while creating the board.  I used to set them up with her waiting and watching.  This works so much better.  When she sees the board she gives out a big “oooooh,” and it’s the cutest thing going.

invitation to play for toddlers - blocksGigi’s grandma Libby is responsible for this invitation.  Thanks gram! She sent the girls these great abc blocks from FatBrainToys.  Fortunately for Gigi, maybe not the environment, they came individually wrapped in tissue paper.  I thought she would enjoy unwrapping each one and playing with the tissue paper.  She did and it added an enthusiasm to the play that I think would have been missed if I just placed the blocks on the board.  After she unwrapped all the blocks she stacked them up and knocked them down, her favorite part of course.  We talked about the different letters and colors on the blocks and then moved on to who knows what.  I’m really looking forward to future invitations and am constantly on the lookout for new materials that might be interesting.  Tomorrow’s invitation will start with old game pieces and a spinner.  I have a feeling the spinner is going to be a big hit.

invitation to play toddler activity - fun with blocks