Labor Day is past, school is open and yes, Family Resources La Crosse Play Shoppe is back every Friday morning in the children’s room on 1500 Green Bay Street. After a summer of visiting and playing at area parks, experiencing the natural world and enjoying the opportunity for all to run, climb, dig, swing and shout, it is great to come together inside, where we are less spread out and it is more conducive for families to connect with each other in a different way.
Every few years I notice a change – a moving on of our older participants (the late fours and five -year-olds) to kindergarten and other preschool programs and a new crop of younger ones stepping up. It is particularly interesting to see the younger siblings of the children who have moved on – the ones who have paid their dues – morning naps in their car seats, watching as they balanced on a parent’s hip, hanging on to a familiar pants’ leg (I think this is my mommy!) or being handed off to another willing adult to hold while mom or dad helps the older sibling with an art project.
Now, however, it is the younger set’s time to shine – time for them to become the ones who know the ropes, who do all the projects to “take home and hang up”, who have their parent’s focused attention and who, during that time and activity, are seen and appreciated as “being the older child” and recognized, (sometimes surprisingly) for their evolving competence and knowledge.
No longer is their older sibling stealing the limelight, painting better, building higher, shooing them away, always getting the biggest most ferocious dinosaur to play with (and chasing them with it) or getting all the favorite train cars for themselves. This is the younger sibling’s time to blossom and blossom they do!
I think that’s one of the reasons I love doing Play Shoppe so much. It is a veritable study in child development in every aspect and provides a powerful window to observe different ages and stages. From the independent crawler to the independent walker, to the toddler “hoarding” every toy vehicle he can hold to the 4-year-old calling to his friend, “Let’s play.”, to the early non-talker to the conversationalist sharing all the “news of the family” – it is all present. And as parents go through these years also, they see the change, feel the growth and marvel, along with me, that childhood is indeed a process, a fascinating and wonderful unfolding and a gift and a privilege to witness.
Keep in mind that every first Friday of the month, La Crosse Play Shoppe will enjoy a First Friday Adventure and we will be out of the building on those days – exploring and experiencing things to do out- of- doors, even as the cold winter days descend upon us. It is Wisconsin, after all, and there is fun to be had even outside in the Wisconsin cold ( more on that in another blog). Locations and activities will be in the Fall Building Blocks newsletter and, of course, on our web site. Trust me on these days out. They are a great deal of fun!