By Lesley Sillaman
Now that the pleasant summer weather has arrived and the sun is out longer, it’s part of our evening family ritual to spend time at our local playground(s). My daughter is 2 and in the 18 months or so since we’ve been bringing her to playgrounds, I’ve seen a complete play transformation.
The shy baby who began her play education by gingerly “sliding” down a slide while held by her father or me now tries to run up the slide daily (with mixed success). Watching her discover new equipment – and ways to use it – is fascinating and can be scary. I have to hold myself back from “over-instructing” and let her experiment and discover on her own. The education is a fast one. In a matter of weeks, she’s gone from needing help on a particular rope-climbing apparatus to bounding up it alone in a matter of seconds. The day she started swinging from the overhead bar above the slide, I took pictures and immediately emailed them to friends and family (see attached!)
Her interactions with other children are different as well. When we initially started coming to the playground, she was very much in her own world. As parents, we got excited when we’d see a friend from her daycare center, but she didn’t seem to care (neither did the other child!) Now, when she sees other kids on pieces of equipment, she immediately wants to play on those pieces, with those children. She goes running to older girls at a rate I can barely keep up with, leaving me in the dust, thinking to myself, “remember when she used to need me?”
I’m now expecting my second child, and my daughter can’t wait to take the baby to the playground. I’m not sure she understands yet that the baby won’t make a great play mate for another few months (at least!) but she’s excited to teach her soon-to-be sibling all that she’s learned already – at the ripe old age of 2. At this rate, I can’t wait to see what the next 18 months will bring.