Let’s Play Together began after years of playing with preschoolers and watching them learn and grow through moving and playing with their friends. We know that movement and engaging play is critical for the development of the young child. We have seen this over and over during years of working with young children of all abilities as pediatric physical and occupational therapists in inclusive preschool classrooms.
In 1999 we wrote a preschool curriculum entitled Play and Learn with major revisions in 2009; it has sold to preschool educators across the world. In that curriculum we showed parents, teachers and daycare providers the many ways of involving children in movement and play, whether it was creating a school bus with Cooperative Box Art, moving through a variety of obstacle courses or making new discoveries out in nature or on the playground.
We had a wonderful discovery of our own one day when we found the ElastaBlast in the back of our storage room at work. We didn’t even know its real name at the time nor did we have any idea how to use it, but we decided to pull it out and start experimenting with it. And experiment with the ElastaBlast we did! We watched the children and have learned from their delight the many possibilities with that one tool. Much learning happens with this simple Parent’s Gold Choice Award winning play choice.
The strength, stretch and rebound qualities of the ElastaBlast create a very motivating movement experience for young children with all ability levels. Combining the movement activities with childrens’ music has further enriched the activities. We know that movement and music together support brain development in young children. Over the years as we trained early childhood family and preschool educators with our curriculum, we listened to their repeated requests for us to put the Elastablast activities we developed into writing for their easy use. We did that in 2008 with Let’s Play with the Elastablast, a handbook/DVD combination with over 30 activities. In addition to early childhood educators, music therapists are also some of our biggest fans of this great movement activity.
In October of 2015, after hearing New Zealand author, Gill Connell speak about her book, A Moving Child is a Learning Child and her program Moving Smart, we were more committed than ever to continue to learn and expand our work to help support parents and early childhood family and preschool educators with the tools they need to help young children learn through movement. We traveled to New Zealand in March 2019 to meet with Gill Connell and observe Moving Smart programs across New Zealand. In that wonderful experience we observed early childhood programming focused on two outcomes: a sense of well-being and belonging for young children. In Moving Smart, movement is at the forefront of all early childhood programming as it is ‘the body teaching the brain” that sets a strong foundation for later higher level learning. Learning through all the senses is critical for a strong foundation and for the development of automated movement which then later allows for higher level reading, writing and reasoning tasks.
We are committed to continuing our work helping families and teachers learn strategies to support the brain development of young children through play and movement activities. We are presenting at conferences and providing workshop opportunities, in addition to sharing current best practices through our website and social media.
Our non-profit, Let’s Play Together was launched in 2008. Let’s Play Together’s Mission: Let’s Play Together is a nonprofit organization that partners with families and educators to develop creative learning strategies which recognize the importance of play and movement in the lives of children of all ability levels.