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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET B r i ng i ng i n Le ss Str uc t u red P l ay What Adults Remember What You Can Provide Having Choices Adults remember being able to choose play activities. Give children choices of activities and toys. Save enough time in your schedule to play and explore those activities. Listen to their interests and provide a dramatic play theme based on those interests. Playing Outdoors Adults remember playing outdoors with natural materials. Bring your dramatic play outside. You could even set several interest areas outside. Take walks and explore the natural environment. Set up a children’s garden plot in the summer months. Confronting Challenges Adults remember overcoming physical and emotional challenges. Encourage children to try activities that are out of their comfort zone. Provide support to continue trying until they succeed. Solving Their Own Conflicts Adults remember solving conflicts with their playmates, often without any adult support. Although you want children to feel emotionally safe and to seek your assistance when they have conflict, encourage them to find solutions and try them out. Learning through Mistakes Adults remember making many mistakes while playing, but learning through them. Don’t be too quick to jump in and rescue a child who is making mistakes. Offer assistance when the child is too frustrated, but applaud all attempts to overcome challenges. Fond Play Memories You probably have many fond memories of the toys you played with, the places you chose to play, and the special friend or groups of friends who joined you. However, adults often remember little from their preschool years and tend to think of how they played as older children. Try to think of your earliest experi- ences with play. You may recall a toy you loved or a play space that you revisited over and over again. 10 | Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL