Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Children and Play: a reading list

Number of days we have lost with our daughter due to the negligence of the state of Illinois: 44 (Don't forget to voice your opinion on the adoption reform bill before tomorrow. They need to hear from every single one of us to really understand the far reaching consequences of their policies.)

A reader asked me for my reading list of books on the topic of children and play. You know I'm always happy to supply lists of books for you. Once again, this is not a definitive list, but a result of my own idiosyncratic reading. Plus, my tip for the day is that if you look a book up on Amazon that you have enjoyed, I find the lists of books a little lower on the page with books other customers bought who looked at that specific book to be very useful. (Remember, the links for each of these books go through my Amazon Associates account, the only form of advertising I let on my blog. I receive a little amount from each item ordered through these links. Thank you... it helps support my reading habit when the library doesn't come through.)

So, if you want to read about children, play, and the importance of play in the development of children, here is where I would (and did) start.

The Power of Play by David Elkind. Does anyone read David Elkind anymore? So many of his books have made such a big impression on me and influenced my thinking. This one is no different. It has been quite some time since I read it, but I think it should be required reading to start on this topic. And then, when you have finished it, you could go on to The Hurried Child and All Grown Up and No Place to Go, by the same author. These books are not the newest on the market, but I think that their message is even more important today.. and evidently was not headed by the general public when they first came out.

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How our Children Learn -- and Why they Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Golinkoff, Hirsch-Pasek, and Eyer. I have already written an extensive review for this book here: Children and Play. It's a favorite topic of mine it seems. I highly recommend it.

Vivian Gussin Paley. This is not the title of a book, but a prolific author and educator. While she comes out of a more traditional school setting, I find her work to be useful and thought provoking in the extreme. I would even go out on a limb and say that anyone who has any contact at all with preschoolers should be required to read her work. I've read The Boy Who Would be a Helicopter (review here at How Pictures Work) and The Girl with the Brown Crayon (review here at On Reading Vivian Gussin Paley). In doing a little research for this post, I discovered she has a book called, A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play. Guess what book is going to be going on my library reserve list as soon as I'm done here?

There are also a couple of more practical books that I want to share with you as well. These are both books I have used off and on over the years, sometimes using the activities suggested in them, others just reading them for inspiration. The thing I like about them is their open-ended nature that allows for a child's own exploration of a topic. You can use them as you like or start one of these activities and let you child take off from there. Sometimes people just need an idea to get them going, and these provide plenty of ideas.

First is Sandbox Scientist: Real Science Activities for Little Kids by Michael Ross. There are lots and lots of science experiments in this books. But don't be expecting the science fair types of activities, but instead, ways to start a child exploring a subject and ways to provide those experiences.

Family Math (with a list of many, many authors) by does for math what the above book does for science. This book has hundreds of math games and activities from early grade school on. It's one of those books that covers a wide range of ages and abilities. If textbooks are really taking their toll, it might be worth putting them aside and doing some of these games for a while.

Anyone have anything they want to add? I'm always on the search for new books to read.

1 comment:

Bev Shambeda said...

Games For Reading and Games for Math, both by Peggy Kaye. Lots of fun games to make that reinforce new skills.

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