“We all fall down” after which a chorus of “Let’s do it again” erupts – and that’s when I noticed one particular little guy in the fray – giggling, jumping up and independently reaching out , offering his hand to another child to hold – another go at ring-around-the-rosy.
An invitation to play – the way play begins for a two-and-a-half-year-old – being a part of small group fun that can be shared. I see it beginning as toddlers scamper up and down the slide after each other – the fun and laughter of following fast behind the child in front of you. I see it in chase games – trying to catch each other, or bubbles or falling leaves together. Or just pure running around in an open space with one another.
This kind of play doesn’t usually include a toy – no need for one. It is just an invitation to play – to experience the beginnings of being part of a group – of enjoying each other.
It was just a week ago that this same two-and-a-half-year-old’s dad had expressed concerns about why his son didn’t play with other children at Play Shoppe. He just played on his own.
I told him that’s the way two’s play – side by side, parallel play that doesn’t usually include the child next to him, except that they are next to him. I reassured him to be patient. It will begin.
As parents we want so much to make sure our children are keeping up, making friends, being social. But development is uneven and takes time. We can provide the opportunities and exposure and then step back, and wait for our individual child’s readiness to unfold.
For that one significant invitation to play.
“We all fall down. ” Let’s do it again!”