Keep On Keepin’ On
3 Simple Activities That Encourage Sustained Play
Sure, there’s a time and a place for a quick game of Jenga or a short trip around the track with the toy trains, but there are also incredible benefits to sustained play—projects kids return to day after day. This doesn’t mean choosing to play with the same toy in a different way or playing the same board game again and again. Sustained play is the continuation of the same storyline or project at a different time—building things that last—and there are tremendous brain-boosting benefits!
First, sustained play teaches perseverance. On EducationWorld.com, teacher-counselor Leah Davies defines perserverance as having the self-discipline to continue a task in spite of being confronted with difficulties. Talk about a crucial skill for academic success! Keeping at a project—even a play project!—for longer than just one session yields different, often better, results.
And let’s not forget delayed gratification! Sometimes we have to work a little harder or wait a little longer for the things we want. And, according to the famous marshmallow experiment conducted by Stanford University, kids who are able to delay gratification “ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures.”
Another benefit of building things that last is the ability to see a problem with fresh eyes. When we become frustrated, one key strategy is to set the problem aside and come back to it later, seeing it with a new day’s perspective. Another strategy learned through sustained play is the benefit of revisiting problems with new thought partners. Together, Johnny and Billy might find a way to build the bridge that Johnny and Danny couldn’t. Professionals around the world have used the Fresh Eyes/New Partners strategies for decades, as summarized by a recent post on AlleyWatch, written for tech professionals in NYC.
Construction toys like Brackitz engineering toys are great for sustained play. Build your neighborhood or town—start with your house and your neighbor’s, add the gas station and grocery store later, and so on. Construct a one-story build today, add on tomorrow, and next week it’s a sky-scraper! Or challenge your kiddo to build as tall, wide, or big as she can
2. Doll or Action Figure Play!
Baby dolls, fashion dolls, large dolls, and action figures are another great way to encourage the creation of things that last. The trick is to resist the temptation to clean up! Let the play lay where it may—that way kids can come back and pick up their story lines another day, encouraging deeper thinking and the ability to see beyond the immediate.
Kids often lose interest half way through their art projects—and that’s okay! Leave the piece (capping materials, of course) for another day and watch as your kids come back and add a whole ‘nother layer of creativity. Consider setting out different supplies the second time around for a fun, multi-media look you couldn’t have achieved in one sitting.
Brackitz engineering toys are the only construction toys that lets kids design any structure they can imagine - anything. Our unique, connect-anywhere brackitz enables kids to create large scale, portable, 3-D structures – with no instructions or limitations – all while learning real-life math, science, engineering, and architecture skills.
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