As I have shared in the past with you, I create and play games in the play yard in the afternoon with the mixed age group of children ages 2-4. This is a large age difference and is very interesting to observe these different humans together. How they interact with each other and how they exist in this large space together. So one afternoon was inspired by a conference I attended a couple of weeks ago. It was the Expressive Arts Therapy Summit held at the Hilton at the LAX airport. It was quite a magical weekend for me where I learned a lot, reconnected with friends, and made new ones. One workshop that I went to, talked about using more games with young children where they share about who they are to others In addition, in a drama therapy workshop, as part of the ice breaker, we went around the circle and showed what we like doing for ourselves using our bodies. I showed that I love to have baths using bath balms and burn incense and just be.
So, therefore, when I went back to my preschool world the next Monday, I had an idea to play a game with my kiddos in the afternoon called, “What do you like?” Somehow, a couple of children greeted me when I was supervising them sitting on the plastic red chair near our sensory garden and a beautiful tree over us. I decided to sit down on the ground to be at the children’s level, and asked if they wanted to play this game. They said yes and I explained the rules of the game. Each friend gets a turn to clap their legs and then their hands and share something that they like. Then it goes to the next person. It was beautiful how there became a rhythm as we went from one person to the next. It was also fun to hear what they each like and to see why they said what they said. Sometimes it was true to them and they would say things like their favorite foods, colors, activities they do with their parents, etc. While other times, some would be silly and share bathroom words and copy each other and go in that direction. Then other times, they would say things geared towards me. For example: “I like your necklace teacher rachael” or “I like your shirt.” Although it definitely flattered me, I also wonder (with my therapist/teacher hat), if they were trying to please me and I am who they look up to and look to for safety, rules, love, and more.
“I like…chocolate ice cream”
“I like poop”
No matter what the children say in this game (and always), I am always accepting and supportive of whatever it is they want to say as long as it is something that is kind and has to do with something they like. I think its important for children to share and express parts of who they are to figure out who they are and to let others know about themselves. That’s what those questions do for me too. I figure out more and more what I like and who I am based off of my experiences and my interests. How do you know what you like and why? Well, we can get very deep but nevertheless, all I care about is giving the children a way to connect to themselves and to each other.
Please feel free to use this game or be inspired by it and share it in your own way with children you work with or your own children. Or even do it with other adults! Let’s get more comfortable with sharing pieces of ourselves with the world. Because again, lets face it, we learn about who we are in relationship to others…
Have a beautiful weekend!