Let The Child Lead!

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In this guest post Kris of Flockmen  shares great insight into importance of child-directed play, and how we can provide best platform for child’s free play and discovery.


Are you always busy, rushing, occupied, running from one place to other seldom having a chance to stop, think and let your child have a play with whatever he/she wants and chooses to do?

The world shouts from every corner you must have this, your child should be doing that, rarely examining whether or not it is really necessary or beneficial for your little learner, busy worker and a fun playmate.

Take a moment and think about the last time your child played contently on their own, completely captivated by their own activity?

The greatest help you can give your child is freedom to go about their own work in their own way. We should be guided by the child (M. Montessori, 1989), giving them opportunities to make choices, develop concentration and let their minds grow, just like their bodies do.
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Here are some Do’s & Don’ts, to encourage a child-led play!

Do’s:

Take Part

When a child has shown and interest in a toy or game they wish you play and they come to you asking to join in – TAKE PART. Even if you are not a big fan of the particular game. Show full support and engagement. It will encourage your child to practice initiative and choose their own activities. Try asking the child to choose toys and games that wish to do, rather than always handing them ideas straight away. If the child is reluctant to do it, give instruction and direction, that will help them build confidence and independence.

Be Ready
Prepare the environment for the child. Look at your child’s room, examine the spaces your child uses the most throughout the day. Is it cluttered and confusing? Does your child have too many choices? Avoid putting everything in one big box, it doesn’t give opportunities to choose and learn an ability to tidy when finished. An organised toy shelf teaches children order and establishes pattern of structure from a young age. Make sure children can reach their toys independently. Prepare the setting, for child to be able to make choices, as they learn to make their own decisions in their life (M. Montessori 1989).

Step Back and Observe
If a child is struggling with something, don’t jump right in to save the day. Let your child develop perseverance. Wait and see how she/he copes with the situation and step in when necessary, with support to enable the child to deal with a similar situation. It helps the child develop problem solving skills.

Don’ts

Don’t interrupt
Don’t interfere when your child is playing or doing a particular activity on their own. Being occupied with a task, a toy or a game helps children build their concentration – it is an important part of life (M. Montessori, 1998). Interference stops activity and concentration, however keep your eyes open for the moments that the child may be disturbed or is in a mood for naughtiness. Put on your policeman hat and defend, instruct where & when necessary.

Reserve Your Praise
Choose the times for praise wisely. Praise breaks the enhancement (M. Montessori, 1989), therefore try not to comment, when the child is deeply captivated by their activity and their imagination. It is not easy, but your child will benefit from having an uninterrupted time to him/herself.

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To find out how you can practice a child led play with Flockmen go here.

Most importantly remember, that if the child has a freedom to develop, the result will be seen at the adult stage (M. Montessori, 1989). Childhood lays foundation for each individual’s personality and response for life (Lillard & Jensen, 2003).


kris_author_profile_medium

Kris co-founded Flockmen to remind the today’s digital world of the basics – enjoying the family time together through natural and open ended play. His days are spent between being a husband, father and a business developer at world’s leading IT company who was at the forefront of delivering Rio 2016 Olympic games.
He is passionate about building thoughtful products that make people lives better.


Would you like to have this wonderful addition to your play room!? We have one large set of Flockmen to giveaway.

Please note:

  • Entries close Monday October, 17, 2016 at 12.oo pm Central Time.
  • Giveaway is sponsored by Flockmen.
  • One entry per person.
  • Entries are made via the Rafflecopter form below.
  • Your email will only be added to Montessori Nature and Flockmen newsletter lists and won’t be sold to spammers.
  • The giveaway is open worldwide.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • Only persons over the age of 18 are eligible for entry to the giveaway.
  • The winner will be published on montessorinature.com, notified via email or Facebook, and will have 48 hours to respond and claim the prize.
  • Flockmen will deliver the prize.

Best of Luck!

Montessori Nature Flockmen

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thank you for visiting. I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave your comment below. Please note that this post may contain affiliate links to products I use or recommend.

63 thoughts on “Let The Child Lead!”

  1. Dee-Anne Hoving

    Loving these cute little Flockmen! What fun! Thanks for the competition entry 🙂
    I love a simple toy that can be used for multiple play ideas and cover a lot of learning areas. Made from natural resources is even better!

  2. These toys look great! I love that it is an open game, it mixes construction with games like Playmobil. Plus I really think it gives to the child the idea that we are taller when we support each other and can stand on others’ shoulders…

  3. So elegant, and so many options! I would love to receive these! I am always on the lookout for wooden toys in a natural wood color.

  4. These are wonderful! I’m always looking for natural, safe, preferably wooden toys for my tactile seeking special needs daughter.

    1. Dear Marusa,
      We thought we start with “men” as that opens up a lot of options. (God started with men too, so can not go wrong with that :p )
      Focusing on just one thing helps perfecting the process, the shape and learning as much as we can before expanding .
      What would you suggest to be next? 🙂

  5. So fun! I know the children I teach would play with these for hours and hours stacking them and forming them into different positions and patterns! Thank you!

  6. Erika Frank-Poletto

    When choosing a toy I look for things that will allow them to use their imaginations and can be used in different ways so they don’t outgrow it quickly.

  7. Erika Frank-Poletto

    When choosing a toy I look for things that will allow them to use their imaginations and can be used in different ways so they don’t outgrow it quickly.

  8. I love the looks of these! I’m always on the look out for simple toys that offer open ended, imaginative play. Things that can be used in so many scenarios.

  9. I look for open-ended toys that can be used in a variety of ways, without a lot of lights and sounds and plastic. I prefer things that can be used for several different kids, for many years.

  10. What I look for in toys for young children are those that are made of natural products, and can fit in the hand while giving experiences of texture and open-ended exploration. Ones that invite a child to discover and create; where the process is the experience of playing.

  11. When looking for children’s toys I want them to be as gender neutral and as open ended as possible. I don’t want toys that are going to promote gender labels and I don’t want toys that have only one way to play with them. I know that this isn’t always possible but I try to follow these guidelines as much as possible. I want my children to grow up open minded, creative, and as anti-bias as possible.

  12. I mostly look for toys that encourage creativity and these Flock Men are just perfect for inspiring little ones (and me) during play! I would love to have this set. Can see myself struggling to share the set with my children (just joking!). Please pick me!

  13. This looks like a great learning tool. Just started getting more interested in Montessori ideas now that my son is turning 2!!

  14. When looking for toys for our children I look for high quality toys made from natural materials that encourage open-ended play. I stay away from battery operated toys with flashing lights and sounds. I like the children to come up with their own story!

  15. Wonderful advise. I find myself praising my child’s activities and abilities too quickly, I will work on that. I’m just so full of pride to see him playing and exploring on his own. Exciting times!

  16. As a newbie in Montessori, I’m now selective of the toys my daughter plays with. They have to be natural, open-ended and encourages my daughter to think out of the box. I’m certain my daughter would love playing with Flockmen. It would be a treat should we win in this giveaway! A nice early Christmas gift for my daughter.

  17. We love open ended toys because they bring out our daughter’s creativity so much. I love hearing her create stories while playing with these kinds of toys. One moment, she’s a doctor, then the next she’s selling ice cream and cake at her shop

  18. I look for toys that will stand the test of time and not just clutter my house with a toy that never gets used. Toys that will grow with the child and be used over and over in different ways as the child grows. Natural is a bonus too!

  19. I love this toy! When I look for a toy for my boys, I look for something that fill a need, a toy that will last a long time and that are open-ended. No plastic is a great bonus to!

  20. As a mother of six, a grandmother of 13, and a retired early childhood teacher, I have a lot of experience choosing toys! I feel the best ones are the ones which stimulate imagination and creativity, open ended (no one-trick-only!) with MANY opportunities to play, and which are very durable. If the most favorite toy which engages kids of all ages breaks easily, there will be tears aplenty. A plain corrugated box can be the best rocket ship, club house, truck, well you get the idea.

  21. I look for toys without batteries, lights, and electric noises. I like ones that allow them to use their imagination, spark creativity, can be used in multiple ways, can span a few years of play, and prefer the toy to have a simplistic natural look over lots of colors and pics on it.

  22. These look like amazing toys. I can see how they would be useful in a variety of different play opportunities. Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. Also, when I look for toys, I look for some thing that will naturally teach the children. I.e., when they are playing with it, I do not have to force them to be academic about it… they just naturally do it!

  24. Also, when I look for toys, I look for some thing that will naturally teach the children. I.e., when they are playing with it, I do not have to force them to be academic about it… they just naturally do it!

    (sorry I am julierose91 from previous post)

  25. I look for toys that will last through more than one developmental phase, though honestly we’ve hardly purchased any toys for our daughter. Both sets of grandparents have flooded our home with so much stuff, it’s overflowing the toy area and barely gets looked at – so it’s interesting to me to see that what she does gravitate to is the basic stuff (play dough and colouring).

  26. Marielle Allison Berba

    “What features do you look for when choosing a toy for your child?”
    I like toys that don’t break easily, has no sharp edges, encourages imagination and can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

  27. I’ve been wanting to get some of these all year. I’m always looking for well made wooden toys that’ll last beyond this toddler onto the next one :p

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