Learning to share is a lifelong endeavor, and many well-meaning adults still find it difficult on occasion (we know who we are). For young children who are passionate about their play, it’s an especially tough challenge. Who hasn’t heard a parent at the sandbox insisting that their child “share” his truck with another grabby toddler only to provoke a meltdown of epic proportions? Meanwhile, the rest of us cringe in sympathy and vow never to bring favorite toys to the playground again.
As hard as sharing a beloved truck can be, the flip side of this coin is that some toys are much more fun when shared with friends.
These are the toys and materials to bring with you to the park, or pull out when kids come over to play. These are the kinds of activities that will help young children learn that there’s no better fun to be had than playing with a friend.
Speaking of sandboxes, there’s a reason that every playground has one: sand is fun to share. There’s enough for everyone and no one bucket of sand is better than any another. It’s just sand. Kids can play happily side by side, or they can combine efforts and connect castles or make each other lovely little sand cupcakes. The same goes for play-dough, the homemade or store bought variety. Preferably you’ll have just one or two colors for the kids to use, and old spoons or butter knives for them to shape it rather than fancy, envy-producing molds, and gizmos.
Building toys are the next step on the path to enjoying one’s friends and toys at the same time. Legos, Magna-Tiles, Tinker Toys, and basic wooden blocks are all easy to share. It’s exciting to see what friends build, and each child has the chance to do something different.
Art projects also work in a similar way. It’s a joy to see two creative spirits working side by side, sharing a box of crayons and a tray of paints. At the playground, a big box of sidewalk chalk will make a whole crowd of kids happy to share.
If the kids seem to be working well together, then the dress-up box may be next up. Choosing different costumes can be a tricky, but there is no doubt that dress-up is much more fun with a friend for mutual admiration and role-playing. To avoid conflict, it’s best to have a stock of several similar or interchangeable items (e.g. lots of hats, scarves, and costume jewels).
All of this sharing practice will yield more and more mutual happiness. Dolls and doll clothes are so much fun with friends when you are able to share. And balls! We love watching kids learn that balls are actually more exciting when you kick them back and forth with a friend. Oh, the joys of playing and sharing that await these kids!
There are almost too many aspects of socialization in a preschooler's life to count. Sitting in a chair at dinner, sitting in a circle for story time. Using your inside voice, keeping your hands to yourself. Finding words, especially at the times whe... read more
Preschoolers often feel both anxious and excited about having guests over to their houses. It is important to teach young children how to accept visitors, make them feel welcome and treat them with respect. While all of these learned behaviors take t... read more