Helena got up before me this morning and as I heard not a peep from her I lazed about for ages. When I eventually got up she was drawing a grid thing on a piece of paper and she was classifying her soft toys.
Classification happens in her play all the time, rocks, buttons, toys… It’s something humans do. I do it at the supermarket when I try to get the food to go through the checkout in food groups, or in where they go in the house (I would love to study people going through checkouts, I’m sure I’m not the only one). One of the few actually interesting university assignments I did was for Anthropology where we had to interview people on how they classified food and it wasn’t all about that food pyramid we did at primary school, so much more interesting.
This is not Helena’s first grid/spreadsheet, either. There are many in her secret note books in her own code. This one (from last year) is about what clothes her toys want – she has clarified that she was actually designing swimming togs according to what they wanted.
After the classification and when Helena had cut out the right number of bits of paper the toys queued in an orderly manner to receive their own, er, um, bit of paper – I asked her and Helena has no name for the bits of paper.
This one lets us know that this is Hospi, Hospi likes to eat sparrows, the colour yellow, their favourite ‘person’ is Hospi 2, and that they like to hang out in the hedge with Hospi 2. I was informed that Hospi had hung out in the hedge with out Hospi 2 but it wasn’t as much fun as when Hospi 2 was there. All these toys have a massive back history, she remembers stuff like how many times the toys have hung out in the hedge at the end of the driveway! Helena proudly showed me that some of her soft toys had put her as their favorite, and one has it’s favourite place as being in her arms…
This is not the first time that the soft toys have received their own documentation, in fact Horsey (Housy) still had the string around it’s neck from last time (Sept 2017) when she made such bits of paper and hung them around their necks with rubber bands.
Old vs new…
There have been multiple other games where the characters have to queue to receive something, always very orderly.
This game is getting more complicated, with more information and many more participants, and so many more relationships between the participants to monitor. I thought it was so cute the first time, which was after we had been to a friends workplace and the kind person on the desk had given the baby toy Helena was carrying it’s very own visitor sticker. I don’t know why this game came back this morning…
I used to work as a toy librarian (second best job ever) and a common refrain I overheard parents saying was “lets not get that out, you’ve had that out before”. It is so important that children revisit toys, places, games etc if not just so they can see how they’ve grown and developed their thinking (Helena records more about all the characters now) or to stimulate the new ideas they’ve been thinking about (Helena learnt to ride a scooter while we were away from the scooter). There is an idea, Bruner, we were introduced to at teachers college, of thinking of learning like a spiral and the importance of circling around revisiting and adding to what was there before, around and around. I don’t know what Helena thinks about and watching her revisit helps me understand what it is that’s important and interesting to her.