Sunday, April 26, 2009

Parallel Play

I love to watch children engaged in parallel play — that play where children are individually engrossed in a book or puzzle, side by side with other children.

My office is set up in a way to invite children in to engage in play and exploration from using a life-like beaver as a doorstop to a bookcase modified to hold books, colorful nested dolls, puzzles, ninja ladder, and blocks. Children love to explore unusual items and the challenge of manipulative materials.

Because my office is adjacent to the lobby, I often have young visitors when their parents are having a conversation and they are looking for something to do instead of waiting nearby.

The best observed parallel play, though, is when two children will come into my office — no permission is necessary — grab a book or item, sit on the floor, and begin playing, and often they pick up where they left off the last time they were in my office. And, I am at my desk, working at my computer engaged in my own play — aka work. Periodically, I will look out of the corner of my eye to see how my friends are playing parallelly.

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