It was a relatively quiet morning at the Toy Lending Library on Wednesday, so we spent our Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group hour once again sculpting, molding, smashing, scrunching, and otherwise handling playdough. With a fresh batch of green playdough for our activities, we used every tool in our arsenal to get the most fun out of this delightful squishy substance.
Because we have covered playdough in two other posts (most recently in March) instead of focusing this post on the basics of why and how to use playdough with kids, we’d like to use this post to reinforce a couple of positive actions when it comes to having your kids use the arts space at PTLL.
First off, it’s really important, even when volunteering, that you keep an eye on what your child (or children) are doing in all areas of the playspace, including the art area. Not only does this insure safe and reasonable behavior on the behalf of all children playing, it furthers the bond between parent and child by showing your kids that you are remaining actively engaged in what they are doing, even when you have other tasks to complete.
Another benefit of keeping an eye on your kids in the art space is that your presence can mean the difference between your child playing well, sharing, and even collaborating with other kids and not interacting or interacting poorly. You don’t have to mediate all your child’s interactions, but simply having that active engagement in the background is sometimes enough encouragement for more positive, agreeable (less aggressive) interactions with other children.
Don’t be afraid to create alongside of your children, especially when there’s few other children creating in the art space and supplies are plentiful. Grab a chunk of playdough and craft objects and modelswith your kids. Help them build upon their work and help them take it apart. You aren’t co-opting their creative process simply by including yourself. Rather, you’re increasing the chances that your kids will see arts and crafts as valuable activities actively endorsed by their parent or parents. If they see that you enjoy an activity, they’re more likely to engage in that activity as well.
Finally, make sure to help your children clean up after they are done in the space. This reinforces ownership over the activity itself and reminds them of the responsibilities attached to any activity. Try to use positive language in regards to cleaning up as it builds a better association with the act than nagging or otherwise negative tones.
Remember: The art area in the playspace are meant to be enjoyed by all visitors to the Toy Lending Library. Leaving supplies and the area dirty makes it harder for everyone to get the most out of the space, and, in some cases, can even waste or ruin supplies (like leaving paintbrushes in paint overnight). Being observant of your children in the space will also remind you of the items that need to be picked up, recycled, thrown out, or cleaned and stored away.
If you have any questions, concerns, or requests for the arts space, get in contact with the Art and Crafts Coordinator.
Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to all members and visitors (with paid admission to PTLL’s playspace). The group is run by Megan Spak and Elisabeth Moyer, with assistance by Emily Fear.