Rediscovering the Joy and Benefits of Play

Do your children tire easily from modern plastic toys that seem to be single-purposed? Have you observed the phenomenon of children having more fun with the box that the toy came in than the toy itself? 

If so, playing with open-ended materials may be a refreshing change for your child and you, says Parenting Expo speaker Dr. Ernie Dettore, founder of PLAY Academy. Self-active play with open-ended materials, also referred to as “loose parts,” work to unify the hands, heart and mind as a process for awakening the creative spirit through invention and self-discovery.  Dr. Dettore provides the following tips on how to incorporate “loose parts” into your child’s play:

  • Start saving household recycled materials that could be considered trash, but are perfect for creative, fun art and craft projects with your kids.
  • Take yourself back to your childhood. Chances are you spent countless hours moving, creating your own games with minimal resources, and settling your own differences. Share those experiences with your child.
  • Don’t set rules for how the “loose parts” should be used. Let your child explore.

Dr. Dettore is the Play Content Expert for the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) and Founder of PLAY Academy. He also serves as Visiting Professor of Early Childhood Education at Duquesne University. He is certified in Early Child Education and holds a Doctorate in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Pittsburgh.  In his nearly 40 years of experience in early childhood education, he’s served as child care teacher, home-based provider, child care center director, college professor, author, Technical Assistant consultant and Professional Development instructor.  In 2007, he co-edited a book with Christine Ferguson titled “To Play or Not to Play:  Is It Really a Question?”

To learn more parenting tips from Dr. Dettore and other leading parenting experts, visit Parenting Expo Pittsburgh March 8 -9 at the Monroeville Convention Center. Parenting Expo is the one event that is all about parenting. A two-day family-friendly event, parents, grandparents, caregivers and educators will have an opportunity to receive up-to-date information on what’s important to them right now – from prenatal care to raising teens.  In addition, attendees will walk away with meaningful coupons, giveaways, goody bags full of products from exhibitors, and opportunities to win prizes throughout the expo.  In addition to Pittsburgh, Parenting Expo is slated for 4 additional cities in 2014:

  • Cleveland:  April 26  – 27, 2014 International Exposition (IX) Center
  • Columbus: August 16 – 17, 2014 The Greater Columbus Convention Center
  • Cincinnati:  September 20  – 21, 2014 The Duke Energy Convention Center
  • Indianapolis:  October 25  – 26, 2014 Indiana Convention Center