3 1/2 Son won't play in his playroom, set up learning centers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 11-16-2010, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is his toy collection. The *'s are what he plays with most. I don't know if I need to thin out more, or add more. He does not seem to play with most of it. I've tried setting up scenes, he won't play, I sit down to play for a few minutes to get him started and then slip away to do my "responsibilities", but then he stops to follow. I'm wondering if maybe it would be better to set up "learning centers"? He used to play well independantly! Maybe I need to set up or provide more structured activities for him to do? Please help!

 

Blocks / Building
legos (not in rotation yet actually)
vintage wood toy builder

lincoln logs
trains
blocks
wooden people
house furniture
wooden cars
*metal cars
animals
barn
*big wood truck
*automoblox

 

Manipulatives
pattern blocks
tangrams
lacing cards
Stack & Match Magnet Rings
*magnetix
counting bears
*marble run with marbles
river rocks
*glass gems
*seashells
(tongs, scoops, spoons, containers)

 

Active Play
*ride on toy
*dump truck
music instruments
balls
fabric
giraffe rocking horse

 

Puzzles / Games
*boggle jr
haba pirate
haba monkey
*haba castle
*3 jigsaw puzzles

 

Dramatic Play
*Little Colorado Kitchen
*Little Colorado Fridge
*Costco metal grocery shopping cart
dress up box
*ironing board (calls it his counter)
*cash register
*table chairs
*food
*misc. utensils

 

Art Supplies 

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#2 of 8 Old 11-16-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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Can you put a couple of his favorites near you? For example, I have a toy box down in the laundry room, and another one in my bedroom, because they follow me everywhere.

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#3 of 8 Old 11-16-2010, 10:09 AM
 
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That is a lot of toys.  You may need to either thin out a little or put some away and ration out and rotate.

 

Also, children that old do not like to be separate from their parents.  If his toys are in a separate play room he may not like being in there by himself.  That's ok, it's his age.  Like the pp said, put a few of his favorites near you.  You put a * next to the kitchen stuff.  That is a favorite of my children as well.  I have their play kitchen next to the real kitchen so they can "play" when I cook.  Also, try including him more in your "responsibilities."  He can match socks, "fold" laundry, peel vegetables, mix bowls.  It's amazing that when I fully involve my children in my day they may not get "playing" done with their toys but it sparks wonderful pretend and they are the happier for it.  Even if you think it's boring:  he won't. 


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#4 of 8 Old 11-16-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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Yes, that's a ton of toys by our family's standards. We have four kids and have never had anywhere near that many. I suspect part of the problem is just having too many choices. Packing away eighty percent of them might help. 

 

But I think the real solution is to include him in your life, not expect either that (a) he should amuse himself alone or (b) he should be able to include you in his pursuits all the time. Developmentally 3.5 is a time when the learning orientation is highly social. Kids are developing the language skills and conceptual understanding of others that really drives them to need interaction, to learn how to relate to people. And their parents are the most available social proving ground. So it's not only natural that he should want to be involved with you, it's important that he be able to do so. 

 

What are your responsibilities you leave him to try to get done? Can't you bring him along, with a couple of diversionary toys perhaps, to the laundry room, or the kitchen, or the basement? Toss him a pile of clothes to "sort," fill the sink with water for him to play in while you clean the tub, keep a dialog going, let him do what he feels like doing, playing beside you, helping out, whatever. It might take you a bit longer to get done what you'd intended, but you also won't need to spend all that time trying (but often failing) to get him busy with independent play.

 

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#5 of 8 Old 11-16-2010, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post

Can you put a couple of his favorites near you? For example, I have a toy box down in the laundry room, and another one in my bedroom, because they follow me everywhere.



Toys are in every room except ours. Living has games and puzzles, office has a car/train table and all his block playing stuff, bedroom has barn set. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Yes, that's a ton of toys by our family's standards. We have four kids and have never had anywhere near that many. I suspect part of the problem is just having too many choices. Packing away eighty percent of them might help. 

 

But I think the real solution is to include him in your life, not expect either that (a) he should amuse himself alone or (b) he should be able to include you in his pursuits all the time. Developmentally 3.5 is a time when the learning orientation is highly social. Kids are developing the language skills and conceptual understanding of others that really drives them to need interaction, to learn how to relate to people. And their parents are the most available social proving ground. So it's not only natural that he should want to be involved with you, it's important that he be able to do so. 

 

What are your responsibilities you leave him to try to get done? Can't you bring him along, with a couple of diversionary toys perhaps, to the laundry room, or the kitchen, or the basement? Toss him a pile of clothes to "sort," fill the sink with water for him to play in while you clean the tub, keep a dialog going, let him do what he feels like doing, playing beside you, helping out, whatever. It might take you a bit longer to get done what you'd intended, but you also won't need to spend all that time trying (but often failing) to get him busy with independent play.

 

Miranda

I know it looks like a ton! It looks rather sparse though, but maybe that's because the room is so large. We have two bookcases similar to this, but a discontinued style that holds most of the toys. Things are displayed neatly and everything on the shelf is in its own home. My son knows where it all is, but sometimes I think it being out of sight, keeps him from playing with certain things.

 

My responsibilities are just the typical dailies, aside from recently starting to do the ebay thing. He loves to help cook, sort laundry, spray and wipe, sweep, mop - just depends on his mood and usually it's only for a few minutes which I know is typical. I don't know... I guess now that I think about it, when I go off to do these things he follows with a toy in hand, usually a car or random household object. I really should just try to include him more, it's just so hard because he's so extroverted and high energy, and I'm finding with the end of this pregnancy that I've become even more introverted and I don't have the mental stamina to engage in his need for constant interaction. On the flipside though I don't have the energy to wake up with the gung ho he has and get dressed and out the door to play, which when I get us out in fresh air asap after waking up the days flow better.

 

I think my feelings are stemming from the fact that I have a lot to get done before baby arrives and it involves being home a lot to get these things done. I guess maybe I don't need to set up things differently and just need to find ways to creatively engage him better. It's all coming back to rhythm, which I've totally dropped hammer.gif

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#6 of 8 Old 11-16-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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It sounds like a great play room for your ds and a friend. Could you try trading off with another mama? I think that two 3 year olds would be easier than one if you're feeling like being left alone. :D

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#7 of 8 Old 11-16-2010, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

It sounds like a great play room for your ds and a friend. Could you try trading off with another mama? I think that two 3 year olds would be easier than one if you're feeling like being left alone. :D

Yes! My aunt has a 3 year old and we've been meaning to trade off days so we could each get a break and let the cousins play at the same time.

 

Oh, and I guess I was lying when I posted earlier because I just mopped all the floors in the house and in that time my son played with a construction toy. He only came by once in a while to ask why I was mopping and to say he loves me.  Sorry ladies, I think I was just frazzled this morning and wasn't thinking straight. Either that, or just the fact that I was mopping kept him at a distance lol.

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#8 of 8 Old 11-16-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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i know how you feel. i got dd tons of toys when she was around that age, and all she really wanted to play with was her books and stuffed animals. nevermind all the cute wooden toys and the play kitchen i got her. its just the way kids are. they like routine and consistency in their daily life, which includes their play things. kids that age feel safe and comforted by it. he will eventually be more into going off to play alone! good luck!


Leah- mama to Audrey born 12/29/03 and Gwyneth born 4/1/2009! Soon to be TTC #3!
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