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#BookReview: “Play” by Amanda Gummer

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review | Posted on 03-05-2015

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As parents we want to give our children the best possible start in life, and we want to do all we can to aid their development. Milestones are something I don’t take much notice of because all children are different and they all develop at different rates, but I still want to ensure my two boys are following them “approximately”. ‘Learning Through Play’ is a great way of encouraging and aiding development in children of all ages. Play is a massive part of their lives from very early on, and can be a big part of their learning as well as their entertainment. A new book from Dr Amanda Gummer entitled “Play” provides a guide to “help your child reach their full potential.” We were sent a copy to take a look at.

Play-AmandaGummer-SussexMummy

The book is divided into age based sections, following a similar pattern to clothes sizes actually! With my two I was most interested in the 12-18 months section and 4 years and older, but I did have a brief look at the other sections too. Each section talks a bit about what your child “should” be doing – again with the milestones pressures – and how you can encourage the different aspects of their development by playing certain games, or doing certain activities. For example with Little Dude who will be 1 in just under a fortnight (how, I do not know…) it suggests shape sorters, building blocks and ride on toys as something to focus on. There is a lot of focus on the child’s new found mobility, and both the fun and dangers this can present. For Little Man who is just four and half, there is a focus on starting school (which he will be doing in September) with activities to encourage social skills, following instructions and their imagination, like small world play and simple ‘Simon Says’ games. Each section also includes ten fun activities to do with your child, as well as space to make your own notes and observations, so its rather like a memory book as well.

I found this to be a very interesting book to dip into. Some parts definitely got me thinking, other parts didn’t seem age appropriate for my two, but as I said children develop at different speeds and nobody knows your child better than you. Some of the activities and toy suggestions generally seemed a bit young for my boys, but that’s just us. I like the idea of using the book as somewhere to write your memories in, but we’ve never been organised enough to do that in any form with either boy! There was a lot of information which I regarded as obvious, but there were certainly tips and play ideas that I will definitely be utilising as a parent. We’ll definitely be looking in more detail at the advice on preparing for school with Little Man as we approach September for example.

On the whole this is an informative book and certainly one to use as and when required, but for us at least, I wouldn’t live my life by it. As with all parenting guides they should be taken as just that, guides and not rules. No two children are the same, and they certainly haven’t read any of the manuals, so I don’t think they can be expected to live by them. Parenting is a chaotic and fun journey, and whilst all the advice that’s out there is helpful and well meant, I think at the end of the day its down to US to raise our children, not the “experts”.

“PLAY” by Dr Amanda Gummer is out on May 7th.

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