One of the key elements to your child playing for long periods of time is making space.
Creating a clutter free play space not only allows your child to be able to play more deeply, but it means there's less clean up too! Think about how you can create more space. I highly recommend starting toy rotations for this.
In a study for the University of Toledo in Ohio in 2017, toddlers were observed playing with either 16 toys or 4 toys. It was found that when children that have less toys to choose from, it has huge benefits for their cognitive development, their sense of independence, concentration and ability to think creatively. Here I outline all of the benefits to your child, by minimising your play space:
"The child that can concentrate is immensely happy" - Maria Montessori
It may seem odd to want a child to concentrate - we often associate concentration with work and school, so why would we encourage this skill in play? It's simple - if a child cannot concentrate in play, they cannot concentrate in work. And as Maria Montessori would say, play is the child's work.
Creating spaces with less toys and distractions simply gives your child more opportunities to concentrate without outside influences distracting them.
They'll play for longer
When a child can concentrate, they'll play for longer spells of time. If we sit back and watch, we can see how engrossed they can become, when allowed the opportunities. Resist the urge to go and interrupt them. Instead wait until they call you over.
It encourages creativity
Give a child one toy and they'll find endless uses for it. A set of blocks could be used for building towers, role play, making patterns, balancing objects. Creativity is more than just arts and crafts - it's thinking outside of the box, problem solving and role play as well as many other things.
A child that feels happy and secure in their environment, and can concentrate for long, uninterrupted spells will be much happier playing independently. Always ensure your child's needs are fulfilled first and that they are happy, well rested and not hungry before you expect them to play independently.
Tune in next week for more tips on how to choose activities for your child!
Go back and read part 1 here on observing your child.
Montessori beginner? Check out my workshop Intro to Montessori here.