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Play schemas: Is my child a transporter?

I'll start with my favourite play schema - transporting.

In a busy nursery setting this was the one I dreaded. Transporters like to gather up objects and take them elsewhere, so when a piece of jigsaw is suddenly missing, or another child's shoe (just one!), the transporter may need to be questioned, not that they'll remember because they will have been busy transporting things all morning, quietly creating mayhem. 

Sometimes they have impressive abilities to hold several unrelated objects in their hands. Their pockets bulge with their stash of bits and bobs. Often the object is of little importance although later on it can have symbolic meaning e.g. a wooden brick may be a loaf of bread (preferably in a shopping bag of course, not just static). 

Over the course of their time in nursery I grew to love my little transporters and learnt to accommodate their needs. I provided handbags, shopping bags, trolleys and carts. Incomplete packs of cards, jigsaws and games were kept forth to play with, which to a degree kept the from the complete sets. Most importantly, I knew where to look when things were missing. 

I admired my transporters for their steely determination to adhere to their preferred pattern of play in settings which are not always geared up to it. A great bonus in having them in a nursery is that you can tap into their schemas at tidy up time. They'll happily gather up all the wooden numbers from the floor into a bag. However, its vital to intercept them just as they finish or you may find the bag behind a cupboard a week later. 

Play ideas: 

All children will enjoy some of the following play ideas, but they may especially appeal to transporters: 

1) Use transitional objects - when going from different settings, for example take a teddy in a bag on the bus, an upstairs toy down for breakfast, a toy car to playgroup. 

2) Let your child help to fill the trolley in the supermarket, ideally filling their own teeny trolley if these are available. This is great for Ikea too! 

3) Buy an assortment of bags and a backpacks for your child to use in play. 

4) Let them help in the garden, e.g. pulling up weeds and then taking them to the compost heap and using a wheelbarrow. 

5) Let your child take recycling to the bin or even better to your local recycling centre.

6) If you have a dog, attach a second lead and let your child hold it on walks. 

7) Let them help put the shopping away. 

8) If you have an open fire, let your child help stack up the wood and bring in logs one at a time - but you may have to stop them taking them all back!

9) Provide wheeled objects such as bin lorries, toy buses etc that can carry toy people and small objects. 

10) Provide buggies and push along toys to push on walks with toys in. Your child may love filling them with additional objects found along the way (leaves, pine cones, flowers etc). 

Jane Reay 


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