Monday, September 8, 2008

More Play Value; Developmental

I promised my mother that I would write about this; you just don't cross my mother, so I'm going to attempt the blog entry that was much better in my head yesterday even though my mind may be elsewhere. I did an entry about play value this sLinkummer and forgot to post it, so it sort of got lost in the shuffle. Here's the old entry for reference.

My interest today, however, is more about the different developmental uses for toys. A few examples:

The Boy got a toy laptop from Grandma when he was 8 months old. Occasionally, he would hit buttons by accident or bat the thing around a little bit. After a few weeks, we discovered that his favorite thing to do with this toy is to close it. I'd open it and turn it on, and he'd close it up again. This transferred into attempts to close the real laptops--usually a sign that he needs more direct attention.

This also prompted me to buy this Pop-Up Pals toy. It has 5 little doors that he can close just like he does with the laptop. We got a lot of mileage out of just opening the little doors and letting him close them. A few days ago, he actually discovered how to open some of the doors, which was terrifically exciting for everyone.

He has begun to use his walking toys for walking, which we figured that he'd do eventually. He used to just play with the stuff on the toys. One of the toys has buttons that make sounds. And, on the subject of buttons, The Boy holds phones and remotes as if he is texting.

A moderate annoyance about baby toys is that they all seem to have letters or numbers, colors or shapes, and they recite the new information at the touch of a button. I don't expect The Boy to know his colors by 18 months just because he has so many toys to tell him. Nor do I believe that the ABC song will be anything more than the ABC song for a few more years yet. I guess it's nice that all of this information is being thrown his way so that when he's ready to understand it, the toys can reinforce what he is learning.

Might this also be a reflection of our current society? Everyone is so worked up about "Kindergarten Readiness" and everyone knows that if they don't startKindergarten right, they won't pass their standardized testing in second grade but they forget that it's developmental, NOT knowledge-based when they start Kindergarten. I have had a few discussions with family and friends about the need for preschool versus daycare or playgroup for children who are under 5 and the concern that they won't know enough for kindergarten. There is currently no requirement that anyone attend school before first grade; almost everyone starts with kindergarten because the public schools offer it and have enough spots for all students.

By the way...all of you with August babies, especially boys, see what the practice is in your town about your kids starting kindergarten right at their 5th birthday vs. waiting an extra year. Developmentally, it's worth checking into.

Don't know which way this post has gone but I'm done because I don't even understand myself anymore...please feel free to leave a comment about anything that made sense.


Band Momma said...

Daughter #1 had pop up pals and she handed them down to Daughter #2. They both loved them. It's almost like they're trying to figure out how things operate. As for pre-school, D. #1 went to socialize. D. #2 went for 2 years, but she missed the cut off by 11 days. If she hadn't, I probably would've held back on sending her for another year.

Chuck, Sarah and Emily said...

As a teacher I totally agree with seriously looking at children close to the cut-off age going into Kindergarten. On the personal front, both my brother and I started K at 4--the cut-off date was much later then-and both graduated in the top 15% of our class--so.....take that for what you will.

Musical Daddy said...

Well, I agree with comment #2 - it depends on the kid. I was ready to read and to socialize and all the other stuff much earlier than my brothers were (and I'm an August baby as well). I never had problems.

But, with The Boy, I'd rather hold him back a year and have him be older than the kids in his class instead of going to school and being overwhelmed socially and academically.

(That's one of the reasons why I'd hesitate to send him to my current district - I think they might have taken the "academic rigor" thing a little too far. When you're known for loading the kids down with so much homework that their ears bleed, then it's time to change a few things.)

wildcatplh said...

I came across your blog from WebMD, and I had to comment. I totally agree on the toy front. My son will be 2 in December, and he LOVES to push buttons, so I try to find things that have buttons to push so that he can learn something from that - the whole "cause and effect" thing. I don't believe that he will learn his ABC's before he is 2, just because he has musical ABC fridge magnets, but he is learning letter recognition certainly, which is a step in that direction. I'd like to think that most of our toys have good play value, but let's face it - sometimes a toy car is just that!

Also, about kindergarten... having a December baby, a cutoff date won't be an issue for us. If he was an August baby, though, I would still hold him out the extra year. Nothing wrong with that.

I also have to comment on how amazing you and your husband are with your son. You all are having a difficult time right now that very few can understand or relate to, but you are handling it marvelously. I think about you guys whenever I'm having trouble dealing with my motor-delayed son.

Sarah R said...

August mommy here! Andrew was born on the 25th. September 1st is the cut-off here, so we can choose to send him to kindergarten or we can hold him back a year. Most likely we will send him. After all, I could read by age 4 and I'm hoping if I continue to read to Andrew on a daily basis, he will too (keeping in the back of my mind the fact that girls tend to read before boys).

the mol said...

I think that if circumstances were different, we'd be having a more difficult conversation about sending him, but being that we don't know what the long-term effects of the chemo will be, I feel better keeping him the extra year. My birthday was in July and I did fine; I know several other people who, even now as college students or adults, I can tell should have been kept back. And they are all male.