Diggin' Dirt

Sometimes little ones develop really strong interests.  In a way, that makes things easier in terms of how to plan the day or plan the room or plan the outside space.  I think our job as Educators or parents is to be a co-facilitator of our children's play.  They are very capable of choosing what they are interested in doing and what they want to play with.  It is our job to be observant and provide things that might support their play.  A co-facilitator communicates, collaborates and helps keep things running smoothly.  When a child is able take a deep dive into their area of interest so much learning and brain development takes place.  Not all of it is visible to us as big people but it's amazing to watch different things mature and emerge.  Like language for example.  This little fellow, who happens to be my grandson, is almost 22 months old.  (Wait, what?! how did that happen?)  His most frequently used  words right now are "digging dirt."  

As his parents watch his strong interest in construction vehicles they are attempting to support his learning in many different ways to allow for rich play and opportunities for his interests to develop. Rule number one! Take digger everywhere you go. To the park, in the car, to the lake, inside and outside. One day on their daily walk they found a marvelous dirt pile.What a perfect place for a digger to dig!

And how awesome for an active, strong little boy to be able to climb to the top.  I wonder how empowered he felt up there!

His Daddy had the ability to build him a little sand box in their garden.  Lots of scooping and digging, loading and driving.  Back and forth, dumping and filling.  

They happen to have lots of construction going on in their neighbor hood so they spend lots of time watching the machines at work.  It's great if parents and educators can learn the proper names and functions of the different machines to support the children's language development. 

Diggers in the dirt, diggers in the water, diggers in the rocks and stones.  All provide a different sensory experience.  

His mom often sets up a play invitation when she cleans up in the evening.  How nice for him to wake up and see an inviting shelf like this.  This is such an nice way of providing opportunities and probe his interests.  Does he like loading the dump truck or is he most interested in watching wheels turn?  Does he like to load the bucket on the skid steer or does he like to push dirt with the blade of his bulldozer?

It's so hard to live so far away from this little family and COVID 19 has put a lot of crimps in any travel plans but I can support any way I can.  This is a book I sent him in the mail that I thought he would like.  He turned to this page and said, "diggin' dirt, diggin' dirt."  Yeah! Road Builders was a hit!

A long time ago in another city, in another toddler room, I realized there was a strong interest in construction vehicles that was borne out of reading this book to the toddlers.  I wrote about some of the things we did as a staff to facilitate their interest.  You can read more here.

What are the children interested in, in your home or classroom?  How can you support their play?  Have fun coming up with ideas but try not to be disappointed if they reject some of the things you offer, it just means they don't need that yet.  They might another day though.  Keep observing and things will become clear. It can stay simple. Use what you have at hand and watch and wait. 
 Trust them to lead the way!

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