A Note to Readers
Joining play that’s already under way can be hard for some
children. Rita wants to join Jayden and Michi, but she doesn’t
know how. Sometimes adults forget that joining play requires
some fairly sophisticated skills. Children need to read body
language accurately. They must listen to figure out what the
others are playing. Finally, they must play a role that fits the
situation, talking to the others in that role and addressing
them in their own particular roles. It takes time and practice
to learn these skills.
You can help by modeling behaviors children can use to
enter play. One of the best ways to help young children who
are having trouble entering play is to act as a playmate and
to demonstrate how to join in. In Rita and the Firefighters, for
example, Johanna helps Rita ease into the boys’ play by asking
if the kitty can take a nap in their fire truck. Johanna creates
a role for Rita that works within the context of the firefighter
play, and then Rita joins in.
We hope Rita and the Firefighters helps children consider the
different ways they can join the play going on around them.