July 9, 2013 - 08:00 — Anonymous

With longer days and warmer temperatures, I find my mind wandering to the "good old days". Days when I could play dolls with my friends, turn a laundry basket into a boat, or make up my own card game. With today's busy schedules and the focus on academics we forget how important it is to encourage our children to "just play".

Child playing in early literacy centerChildren explore language and learn about the world through imaginative play. They practice putting their thoughts into words and begin to think symbolically. For example, a cardboard tube can become a telescope, or a box can become a robot. This is a key developmental step for reading readiness. Playing house or doctor allows children to create their own stories. This helps them understand that stories have an order: a beginning, middle and an end. Dramatic play also helps encourage language development. Children will talk to each other about what they are doing or how to solve a problem.

You can add literacy-rich items to your child's playtime such as a dress-up box or puppets. Takeout menus and a notepad can be used for taking orders when playing restaurant. Playing with blocks and puzzles helps children develop motor and spatial skills.

We invite you to come and play at the library. All three of our locations have an Early Literacy Center with lots of fun activities for you and your child. Let's all have a play day this week!

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