Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Monty the Rhinoceros

"Knowledge is a polite word for dead but not buried imagination"
This is no ordinary dog bed. Though, I suppose the hand quilted blanket and bowl of popcorn (which is a bowl of peanuts, actually) may have tipped you off to that. This dog bed is the home of something wonderful that has come to visit us.

That something, or someone, is Monty the Rhinoceros. Monty enjoys sleeping in the most inconvenient places, such as the dog's bed, or the sofa, where of course nobody else can sit (including the poor dog)! He always eats a bowl of peanuts for breakfast, and he loves to sing and dance and talk and share stories.

Most importantly, of course, Monty loves this sweet girl. Which is a good thing, because she is the only one who can see him!

Make believe play is a vital component of a child's social and cognitive development with far reaching benefits! It increases language usage, allows a child to express both positive and negative feelings, reduces agression, and provides children with a sort of practice outlet for important social skills such as communication and problem solving. Most of all, it's one of the beginning blocks of building empathy.

Studies have shown  that parents who talk to their children regularly and take time to explain features in nature and social interactions, or who read or tell stories at bedtime seem to be most likely to foster imaginative play. If you're still in the infancy stage and hoping to encourage a strong imagination in childhood I suggest narated walks! One of our favorite things to do was to go on a walk with Bee held close in a sling and narrate everything that happened or that we passed. Sometimes it feels strange to narrate, but it gets much easier and more natural with practice. If you'd like to try, here are some examples of things I'd point out on our walks:

  • Did you feel the wind in your hair?
  • Look at that quick squirrel running up the tree! I wish I could climb that fast. He went all the way to the top! I wonder what we look like from up there!
  • Let's feel this rock, it's small and rough. Feels a little cool on our skin!
  • Oh, there's the mail man! Let's say hello, it's so polite to greet people we see. Hello! How are you today?"
  • Do you hear those birds singing? What beautiful music!

See that smile? The face of a true, creative and fearless explorer. 

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