What is Play?
from Karthik, Appa of almost 3 year-old Disha in Banaglore
What is “playing” for a near-3 yr old?
Anything that she wants to do – it could be play-acting, knocking about a football or a balloon in the living room, making clay-models with her, having a shared story-telling session or running around with her in the nearby park. In fact I don’t think I have ever consciously thought about “playing” with her. It’s always been about being around her, ensuring she is having fun. For eg: When crawling around as tigers stops being fun, we might break into an impromptu jig. She loves singing and dancing and music is almost always present. She has her favorites, to which we sing and dance together, with gay abandon.
Our story-telling sessions typically start with a book selected by Disha and the story is often read/narrated multiple times. We recently audio-recorded one such story-narration and Disha had a blast while playing back the audio, speaking out aloud with the recording at various times while pointing at the relevant page in the book.
We go on cycle-rides often, with Disha sitting in a baby-seat in the front. These end up being incredibly fun, with both of us singing aloud at the top of our voices. These songs are often made up on the go, incorporating things we see on the the road – cows, cycles, cars, trees etc.
She loves it when I talk about eating her “poppai” (Disha-tongue for “thoppai – the tamizh word for stomach”) – tickling her, pointing out various locations in her stomach where her food might have ended up at.
When we go for walks, she loves sitting astride my shoulders and touching the leaves of the trees that we pass by. Sometimes we break into a run and make her mom chase us down. Sometimes we run up to her mom, touch her and then run away, screaming away in delight.