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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL • Prepare for cleanup. Mess is something that scares a lot of adults away from some activities. In- stead of forgoing the activity because you dread the cleanup, prepare for the cleanup ahead of time. For example, have a hand-washing bucket nearby so kids can rinse off their fingers (and other body parts), have the broom or some wet rags handy, or haul the trash can from the kitchen to the activity area. If you prepare for the mess, then it won’t be so hard to deal with when the play is done. Where do I get the ingredients? You can pick up most of the ingredients (that is, the materials) for these activities at places you’re probably already shopping—the local grocery store, a big-box store, a home center, or a dollar store. Should we document our play experiences? Yes! Keep a camera, a video camera, or a digital audio recorder nearby to cap- ture the children’s play and learning moments. Then share the fun (and learning) with families and use the documentation to assess each child’s developmental level. Be sure to note anything you see that raises a red flag (things like speech problems, vision problems, hearing problems, and coordination problems, for example) and follow up on it. Sometimes these things are more noticeable when you watch the instant replay than they are when they’re live. So let’s play! We hope you enjoy the activities in Let’s Play, but what we really hope you take away from this book is the desire to play more. We hope you see that simple materials, simple prep, and a lot of time, space, and freedom lead to big learning. We also hope the adventures we share inspire brand-new play ideas and varia- tions. If they do, we would love to hear about them. Visit us at www.facebook. com/LetThemPlayBook. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL xxi