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New Ways to Play

Have you been sucked into the world of Pinterest yet?  I personally have been trying to resist, sneaking in only a few minutes here and there, but I’ve been on enough to create a board of cute, inspiring play and activity ideas for my boys.    Sometimes in my few minutes of pinning ecstasy, I’ve found myself thinking, “Do I pin this activity, or not?  It looks so fun, but my boys really don’t like to do that kind of activity.”  Christie Burnett’s article “But My Child Doesn’t Like to Play ____” on  addresses this very scenario.

According to Ms. Burnett’s article, most children have a preferred way of playing, be it imaginative/creative, physical/active, constructing, reading, or thinking-based games (like puzzles, manipulatives, and board games).  Some children would spend every waking hour outside, and others prefer to stay indoors to play.  Although our children will tend to gravitate towards their favored activities, ways of learning, and areas of interest, Ms. Burnett gives us a few tips to help us encourage our children to find new ways of play, helping them discover new potential interests:

  1. Start with what they already enjoy and add props or resources to expand their play in new directions.  For example, if your child has an insatiable passion for trains (like my youngest), Ms. Burnett suggests adding a clipboard and pencil to draw maps of the tracks, or some people and animal figurines to extend the potential for imaginative play.
  2. Engage their curiosity by making it inviting or fun.  Presenting the toys in a pleasing and ordered manner can make all the difference to how your child plays with them.  According to Ms. Burnett, if all of your child’s toys are messy and lumped together, children may struggle to play for extended periods of time.  I noticed this very thing recently when we had to clean and de-clutter our home for a showing.  My oldest was so enthralled by how neat and orderly things were that he was calmer and more focused in all areas – including his play time.  Another bonus: he loved picking his toys up and making the room look “beautiful” again when he was done!
  3. Strew.  This was a new term to me, but strewing involves “collecting and presenting interesting, hands-on resources to encourage new interests and connections between what children already know and new ideas.”  Then you simply leave these new items where your child will find them and let them explore!  In the article, Ms. Burnett gives a link for more details about strewing and introducing new props into play.
  4. You.  Simply being near the space where your child is playing – whether or not you can actively play with them all of the time – can make a difference with how long your child plays and what activities they choose.  When you’re nearby, you can answer questions, provide encouragement or guidance, or your child may pick up something new by watching your example.

Do you know your child’s preferred way of playing?  Do you need more ideas on how to expand their horizons while developing their passions?  The Kidtelligent Assessment can help by giving you insight into your child’s unique personality and providing you with tools based on your child’s unique personality type and interests.  Find out more about the Kidtelligent Assessment at www.kidtelligent .com, and make sure to follow us on Facebook at

Sarah is a guest blogger for Kidtelligent. She is a soccer-playing, travel-loving, poetry-writing wife to a “go-getter” husband and mother to two high-spirited, sweet, and enthusiastic boys. All of this “get up and go” makes her one tired, but happy woman!