Letting Play Evolve

This week, I have not been able to organise any great craft or activities for the girls. I am so exhausted, in great pain and just in a state of ‘leave me alone’, so I have been resorting to getting out the bubbles and paints and letting the girls run around outside being as messy as they want.

Then, the brilliant (and sometimes infuriating) Mister Maker had a wonderful idea of bubble paintings. Of course, I’ve done paintings like these before, but somehow the idea of combining this week’s art into one, new activity never crossed my pregnancy addled mind.

Unfortunately, said pregnancy addled mind somehow mucked up the easiest directions in the world while making the paints.

Instead of ending up with the lovely bubble pictures I envisaged Ellie ended up tipping her watery paint out onto paper and let it run while Kahlei mixed her paints together and painted her legs. Watching them took me back to when Ellie was younger and I planned many activities that simply never went how I had planned.

Paper left unpainted, but a toddler with blue arms, legs and bellies or carefully cut out pictures piled up one on the other instead of neatly collaged. Knocked down towers before they were barely begun. At first I felt so frustrated. I was putting in so much effort and felt it was wasted.

Then, one day I started thinking about my job as an Assistant Co-ordinate of a Supported Playgroup program and how one of my more important jobs was to demonstrate appropriate play for children who, maybe haven’t had much in the way of adult interaction during play.

I took a step back and realised that Ellie eating her paint, painting herself or stacking glued papers was her learning through play. We all know babies/toddlers explore the world around them physically and this was just the same. It didn’t matter if the activity I planned went a completely different direction because it was the experience she was receiving through delving into play using her senses that mattered.

I decided from that moment to never stop arranging crafts/games/activities but to allow my children to play how they will, all I can do is watch their joy and show them appropriate ways of play through how I approach the activity myself, since I doubt eating paint would be perceived as proper once they’re at school 😉 And, funnily enough we don’t have paint eating sessions anymore.

Play is so much better for all concerned now that I am relaxed and letting their creativity lead them where it will.  It took me by surprise that, once I became a mother, I forgot what I knew about how children learn and play and went down a road that I never thought I would.

Letting play evolve is a natural way for children to learn and grow and Mumma’s too 🙂



  1. This is such a great way of thinking about it. I guess when you're so young, EVERYTHING is a learning experience!

  2. thinking of you as you're counting down the days to the birth… hope its not too long now.

  3. Beautiful post. As parents/teachers etc, we always need to remember that just because they aren't doing something the way we think they 'should' be doing it doesn't mean they are doing it wrong. To them the picture with the collage stacked one on top of the other took a lot of work and coordination to get each piece to lie directly over the one before…play is their work and we should never underestimate their efforts 🙂


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