Daisy has a small wooden pram but for a while she wasn’t particularly interested in it. It was just where all her cuddly toys and teddies were stashed away at the end of each day. Then Daisy started going to the playgroup regularly.
Watching at Playgroup
The playgroup always has plenty of different wheeled toys available including a variety of prams, pushchairs and buggies with plenty of dolls and teddies, all ready and waiting nearby. After several weeks of watching other children playing with the dolls, teddies, prams, pushchairs and buggies, Daisy started to join in with this play, selecting her favourite fabric body dolls and placing them in a buggy. But she still wasn’t interested in pushing.
A Buggy of her own
A couple of weeks later at the playgroup, pushing the buggies, prams and pushchairs was all Daisy wanted to do, but without any ‘passengers’. She’d been enjoying pushing the little buggies around so much that on our next family shopping outing together I decided to buy Daisy a little buggy of her own. I had barely paid for the buggy before Daisy was striding out next to Mummy who was pushing the ‘big’ buggy. I was amazed at how quickly Daisy learned to steer the buggy. Occasionally she was distracted by watching the wheels as she pushed the buggy along and she quickly discovered that in a shopping precinct there are obstacles that need to be negotiated around. It just takes a bit of practice and some guidance from a grandparent! Apologies for the blurry ‘action shot’ below, but she was moving fast!
For Daisy this play is about the feeling of movement as she is pushing her tiny buggy, and through this play she is also developing her strength and muscles to control, steer and manoeuvre her buggy.
On my next visit we went for a walk around the local streets with the wooden pram (Daisy’s choice of course). On this outing Daisy was practising walking along the pavement with her pram steering, negotiating corners and also beginning to recognise her local environment. She even remembered which direction to take, to go to meet Daddy on his walk home from the station. At the same time I noticed a new layer of play. Before we set out for our walk, Daisy had carefully placed a cuddly rabbit and a favourite doll in the pram and during our walk she would regularly stop to check on them and straighten them, rearrange them. This seems like the start of role play with Daisy imitating how adults carefully position a child in a pram and regularly attend to them.
Girls & Boys
At the playgroup, all of the toddlers play with the wheeled toys and the boys play with buggies, prams, dolls and teddies in exactly the same way as Daisy.
Toddler’s role play at this age is imitating what they see in their environment and I know that Daisy’s Daddy is just as likely to push her in her buggy as Daisy’s Mummy does. So there is every reason to encourage boys to play with prams, buggies and pushchairs so that they can experience this role play without any kind of prejudice. Equally, I would encourage Daisy to develop her strength and muscles to control, steer and manoeuvre by pushing a toy lawn mower instead of her toy buggy.
Granny Smith says
Buying a toy pram or buggy is a significant purchase and you may also consider having another one at your home too. I’ve spotted toy prams and buggies available in second-hand and charity shops and having one at your home for your grandchild will give lots of play as they grow through the pushing stage into years of role play.