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Posted by on in General

By Joanna Fortune, Clinical Child Psychologist & 'Blog-osity' Monthly Guest Blogger

A walk around Imaginosity, Ireland's only interactive children's museum for the under 9's is like taking a stroll around your child's imagination, this is the inner world of a child brought to life. On offer is a myriad of rich interactive experiences for children to engage in; from meeting the Eco Badger up on the roof garden, and learning about how the unique 'green' building works, to making your way up the Climber past the Wizard's Lair and the Rocket Ship to Rapunzel's Castle. Of course, Imaginosity is a wonderful and fun place for children to be and we see this in how their faces light up when they are there, but behind the fun it is clear that Imaginosity is providing children with much more, a genuinely child centred learning, educational and development opportunity!

There is a Greek saying that 'Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play' and that is what we can all benefit from in Imaginosity.

There are 3 stages of Developmental Play (Embodiment Play; Projective Play; Role Play) which is how children develop their understanding of who they are and who the people and the world around them are, that sense of learning where the "I" ends and the world begins.

In summary, Embodiment Play is the first stage (from 0-3.5/4 years) and is essential to developing a sense of trust. Babies learn to trust in a physical way, not through words. This is a very sensory stage of play and touch plays a vital role. Imaginosity has two dedicated spaces for smaller children, 'Little me' on level 2 for under 12 months and 'Tir na n'Og' on level 1 for children up to 24 months. Both spaces offer smaller visitors a sense of security and safety in these specifically designed, soft play, tactile, enclosed areas.

Projective Play (from 3.5/4-5.5 years) comes next and here we see an increased focus on stories and narrations to further explore and investigate objects, people and their general environment at a deeper level. Engage your child in play with dolls and puppets in Imaginosity's theatre space and have the dolls/puppets play through things your child has experienced in their lives i.e. sharing with others, staying in their own beds etc. Level 1 in Imaginosity contains everything a child needs to "create their story" and is wonderful to encourage projective play.

Role-Play (from 5.5-7 or even 9 years) is the final stage and is about dramatic play, which children use to re-structure/re-arrange aspects of their life events to gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. There will be aspects of both Embodiment and Projective play evident in this final stage. Imaginosity's Performance area is perfect for this, as it allows and enables children to role play different characters and scenarios in a safe environment where they are in charge.

This is the seriousness of play and it is important that as parents we learn to play with our children and to become comfortable communicating with them at their developmental level, as a way of connecting with them and supporting their development.

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Posted by on in Family & Parenting

We are delighted to announce our new blogging partnership with Joanna Fortune. Joanna will be writing a Blog-osity post every month, for 12 months and we are excited to have her on-board!

Joanna Fortune is a Clinical Psychotherapist specialising in child and adolescent Psychotherapy with over 12 years experience. She is widely recognized for her use of simple supportive language to make connections with parents and children. Among many other things, Joanna is a regular contributor in the media on issues of child development and parenting. Joanna founded Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Dublin in October 2010.

 Joanna small

Hi, I'm Joanna Fortune and I am delighted to be writing some blogs for Imaginosity's fabulous blog site. For those who don't yet know me, I am a psychotherapist and attachment specialist working with children, adolescents and parents in my Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Sandyford Dublin 18 ( www.solamh.com ). It has been said that I tend to view the world through the eyes of a 5 year old and this, I'm proud to say, is very true. Why not take a look at www.joannafortune.com to find out all about me and the work that I do.

So you can expect my blogs to be about child development, challenging behaviours and what they mean, as well as practical tips on parent-child play time. Whatever I am blogging about there will always be a practical tip for you to use at home with your child, ensuring15 minutes of quality play time together per day.

The weather is finally getting better and it's time to get out there and make the most of it with your children while you can. I noticed that Imaginosity were doing a great theme to welcome spring so I thought I would take their lead and talk you through a fun, sensory engaging parent-child spring time play tip. You can start this activity with a great nature walk and collect some items for your 'sensory basin' while out and about having fun.

 

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