Monkey Bars and Popcorn Necklaces

I’m a big fan of putting all else aside to PLAY with kids. My mom is over 55 and still plays on the playground with her kids at school. She’s been a great example of how to really connect with a child. How awesome is it that my whole job is about teaching a team to connect with children. In fact, I’m on the docket to present on that subject on Saturday at this conference: Think BIG!

Just so you know I’m “living it out” in real life, let me introduce you to the new little girl I am mentoring this year. (sorry for picture quality- taken by my blackberry)

She’s in first grade and loves games and writing. This past weekend, we got the chance to have a great Mexican lunch together and then she asked me if I would go play on the playground with her. We connected more in that hour and a half of playing than we have at all of our mentoring sessions. There is something so cool about teaching a little girl how to go one bar further on the monkey bars. We even skipped around the track while holding hands and singing. Dreamy.

Last week, we read a book about popcorn. In it, they made a popcorn necklace- she had never seen one before and LOVED the idea. So, guess what we did at mentoring today? 🙂

I know a lot of mentors are a little intimidated by their hour with kids. The trick to making it the most wonderful hour of your week- let the child lead! Child-centered play is central to building cognition and self-recognition. Here’s a story that NPR did on the subject: Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills. How can you help a child play today?

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