Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Post: Melanie Milburn

Curling Up By The Fire would like to welcome Melanie Milburn, author of the delightful children's book I Love You More... Than Chocolate, who is here to discuss play and learning.  Don't forget to take a look at the YouTube video of her cute song that goes along with the book; my daughter has already pretty much worn out the CD that came with it.

This book was originally a song, and inside the back cover, you have a CD of Melanie singing the song. When Melanie would tuck her children into bed at night, she made sure they knew how much they were loved. She told them she loved them more than anything even chocolate! Her children knew she was a chocoholic, so they had no doubt, they knew they were loved! Every child wants to know they are loved, and this book conveys what parents want their children to know in a way that speaks clearly and impressively to the child's mind and heart.

Play and Learning 

Spontaneous, self-paced, child-controlled play provides the ideal environment for children’s learning.  Play is children’s work.  It is their life.  Children love to play anytime they get the chance-and with anything available.

Play provides opportunities for children to practice skills they have learned.  Children learn by doing.  Much of what children need to learn can only be learned through actual experience.  Self-directed play is the ideal source of children’s learning experiences.  Open-ended, self-directed play allows children to follow their own curiosity, experiment with a variety of approaches to reach a goal, and keep trying until they are successful.  Self-directed play allows children to feel very much in control.  Play provides an opportunity for relaxed, pressure-free learning. 

Play captures children’s attention and holds their interest.  Play unites the child’s mind, body, and spirit.  Perhaps most important of all is that play is fun.  Learning through play is fun.  And everyone, young and old alike, learn best when they are having fun.

With Valentine’s Day being right around the corner it is the perfect time to visit the post office and take a tour.  Children love field trips and this one is sure to be a hit!  If a tour is not possible, ask a mailman to come visit and talk about their job.

After the tour or mailman’s visit, set up a play post office.  Be sure to make a sign that says United States Post Office and provide a United States flag if possible.   Provide the children with lots of paper, envelopes, and stamps (rubber stamps work fine for this).   Make a mail-box for them to decorate and allow them to write letters, make valentines, pay bills,  and mail them.   Find an old shirt at the thrift store, and decorate it to look like the postman’s shirt.  Use an old bag that goes around their neck and allow the children to take turns delivering the mail to their friends.  We also set up a cash register to buy stamps and mail packages.  The children love to pretend, and they do not even realize how much they are learning!!  So this Valentine’s Day, get out the imagination and let it fly.  You may even have as much fun as your child!

About the author
Melanie Milburn is Director of New Horizons Preschool in Durango, Colorado, where she has been teaching for 18 years.  She has been writing songs for over 20 years and has produced two CDs for children.  Melanie recently transformed one of her songs into a book titled, “I Love You More Than Chocolate”.  The book comes with a CD of Melanie singing the book and children love being able to listen to the CD while turning the pages of the book.  To learn more about Melanie and her book go to her website, www.melaniemilburn.com.