The educators of Reggio Emilia understand that children are embedded in relationships, with their families, peers, and the world around them.
With this principle in mind, I am always on the lookout for playthings that support relationships both with the material itself and also with others. These homemade toys are a great way for young children to experience just that.
I used cardboard from some delivered packages and cut them into approximately 5×7 frames. I fit a yellow piece of cellophane to one frame and a blue one to the other. Since this was going to be used by my infants, who like to give many things a little taste, I covered all exposed cardboard. It took four strips of packing tape, one for each side.
These simple cellophane lenses offer the girls a different view of the familiar. Playing, yet still being able to see me or each other.
Greysen, “Peek-a-Goo!”. These cellophane lenses become something for the girls to see each other through, a medium for a shared experience.
In this moment, these toys are living up to their potential. Similar to art materials, open-ended toys can be the means through which children learn to play together, learn how to be friends, and in this case, learn how to be sisters.
Do you have favorite open-ended materials that beg for a play partner? I’d love to hear about them.