A great book is often all the inspiration a child needs to engage in meaningful pretend play. Big Red Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown, gently showcases a variety of farm animals going about their day and settling down for the night. The rhythmic text, and soft illustrations, create a sense of calm that we enjoy.
Before we read this book I took out Big Kid’s red barn, along with the farm animals, and had them available on a nearby shelf. While we were reading, she ran over to get them so she could play with the animals as they came up in the story. After reading, she continued to play with the animals in their barn, making them play with each other, moving them around the barn, talking to me about the parts of the animals, and how many of each we had.
Much of our parenting philosophy is based on the work of Maria Montessori, who stressed the importance of a prepared environment. Today, all I did was have the toys available Big Kid needed to extend a story into her play independently. She had a more enriching experience with the book because her environment was properly prepared for her.
What books have inspired independent play in your child recently?