Tuesday, 29 April 2014

What to do with a budding interest?

Finn started being curious about dinosaurs a few weeks ago. I observed him, noticed the very start of an interest emerge, and stood back. I interacted with him about them but did not offer any additional activity. His interest faded away in a couple of days and he forgot about dinosaurs.
His interest was revived when a friend lent him three large dinosaur models and we visited a dinosaur park. I observed once again, but this time decided to step in slightly to support his interest. I supplied him with good quality dinosaur models (from Schleich) which he loves so much he had a nap with yesterday! I let him watch a short dinosaur cartoon which he really enjoyed too and has been asking to watch again. He spontaneously matched his dinosaurs to pictures in a book.
We made this dinosaur land together and he loved watching me use the dinos as props to tell a story. He recreated the stories himself afterwards, with dramatic effects!

We used left over Easter eggs as dinosaur eggs and they were a big part of the play as some of the dinosaurs kept trying to steal the poor Triceratops mummy's eggs!

The Spinosaurus (that one is not Schleich, it belonged to Finn's daddy when he was a child) was definitely the meanie in the story as he even tried to eat the Triceratops mummy after gobbling up all her eggs!

I'm not sure how much more input I should have in this interest of his. We're off to the library this afternoon to find some dinosaur books and I think that's all I'll do with him for this topic, at this moment. The risk in being over present is to steal the interest from the child, which makes them feel out of control and lowers their self-esteem instead of increasing it. At two years old, I want to keep things simple so as not to put him off the whole topic. How much information does a two year old need? How much adult guidance? I have found many ideas of dinosaur-related activities that would be suitable for his age, but I think I'm going to have to practice my self-control and put a leash on my enthusiasm for now!
What is your approach to supporting your child's interests? Do you stand back? Look to Pinterest for ideas on the topic? Plan related activities/visits? Do you consciously try to keep things simple? I would love to have your feedback on this as this is an area where I lack experience!

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