As I mentioned in my earlier post Why 559?, each of the numbers in our name represents part of the philosophy of 559 (namely, our belief that good toys should be open-ended and developmentally nurturing). This week we'll talk about that first "5," the 5 Types of Play, and the open-endedness of a good toy.
As I write this, I'm watching my 10-month old son climb up and down a mountain of pillows. It's a mountain dotted with some familiar, and some new, objects to find. He's crawling, and working hard to get over some particularly fluffy bits of the 'mountain.' He's spotting the objects, picking them up, rolling on his back to play with them, then shaking and mouthing them. He's watching balls get away from him, and then he's chasing after them. He's engaging in physical play.
Physical play includes everything gross and fine motor related, from an infant reaching for a toy for the first time, to building block towers, to swings and slides, to colouring, to the bike ride that you went on last weekend. It's learning, practicing, integrating and mastering all of the muscle movements that a wee (or big) body is capable of doing, and as an infant or toddler (and up!), it's key to creating the neural connections that will lead to, well, everything physical: walking, writing, dancing, and even climbing mountains (whether they be made of pillows or not).
So let your little one explore! Let them feel different textures, practice holding different objects, pass them back and forth between tiny hands, and then let them bang those things together. Give them beautiful things to reach for, fun things to shake, and interesting things to manipulate. As long as it's safe, really anything will do (in addition to wooden toys, we're big fans of kitchen objects in this house). Let your child play, and watch the magic happen!