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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Play Play Play!

We are getting more and more information about the importance of creating opportunities and spaces for children to explore, create and imagine during free play.  It is crucial for social, emotional, physical and language development, to name just a few areas.  Librarians in our area and around the country are developing environments in their libraries that encourage play for young children, which is really exciting!  I'd love to hear stories about your areas and how they are being used.

The June issue of School Library Journal has an article by Rachel Payne about some marvelous programs that the Brooklyn Public Library is doing to help families learn about using low-cost toys, made from things found around most houses (boxes, shredded paper, board books used as blocks).  Sometimes parents or caregivers have forgotten how to playfully engage with young children, and having simple, inexpensive toys, along with enthusiastic librarians modeling playful interactions.

This fall, the Youth Services Section and the Public Library Development Team are co-sponsoring a 1/2 day preconference at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference (in Green Bay) sponsored by , focusing on early literacy, with some special emphasis on PLAY.  Jim Gill, terrific children's musician and play advocate (as well as child development expert) will be on hand, and our own Shelly Collins Fuerbringer and Ashley Bieber will be there talking about early literacy play areas.

There is increasing interest in tapping into technology to satisfy some of the needs for interactive play, and these are worth exploring.  But in my opinion, there is absolutely no substitute for an empty cardboard box and an engaged playmate!
The play literacy area in Rice Lake gets good use!

Check out the Alliance for Childhood's 12 Types of Play for more ideas about the importance of play.

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