Sunday, September 27, 2015

September SpOT Light Series: Kids Play Space

So I began the September SpOT Light Series in Australia and now after many adventures in the states, I head back to Aussie to aim the SpOT Light on Anna Meadows at Kids Play Space and her innate ability to see playfulness in the world around her.

Kids Play Space began, as most blogs, as diary of sorts during her maternity leave, featuring the childhood development of Anna's son.  (check out her son's Happy Feet for a good giggle). But as time passed, it became a Play Space of passion for sharing pediatric play.  Just recently celebrating it's 3 year 'blogiversary', Anna continues to spread the importance of play.

"It has truly become a labour of love! It is a place where my passions for OT, health promotion, child development and play collide! OT fights for accessibility, inclusivity and thriving in everyday ‘occupations’, working closely with individuals. In the world of health promotion, it’s all about striving for ‘health for all’. Finally, as play is children’s most important occupation, my motto over at Kids Play Space has become ‘play for all’, celebrating simple learning opportunities everyday, not just for our son, but for all children."

Now in Anna's 18th year of occupational therapy service, she reflects on the uniqueness of OT that allows us as practitioners to support through the life span. 

"I’ve been so fortunate to have practiced OT in so many different areas! I’ve worked in hospital, rehabilitation, and community settings, (including community centres, disability, early intervention services and special schools), with people from 0-100+ years old!"

In many of Anna's posts, she looks outside the box to incorporate the available items of her surroundings into daily play.  In Balance Beams in the Real World, Anna adapts the concept of Parkour  (urban play spaces) to benefit childhood development.  "Kids love seeking out and conquering balance obstacles naturally." 

In her Small Space Living Series, Anna reiterates that "you do NOT need a mansion, a separate play room, or a million toys, for rich play experiences. Children are very adaptable, and will learn to explore and interact with whatever space is at hand."

But it is Celebrating Boredom in Childhood that sticks out in Anna's head as a top therapeutic tip.  "Ensuring that [kids] have time to be bored, explore nature, problem solve with loose parts, interact with their friends is vitally important for school aged children. I guarantee these experiences will enrich their childhood, and make them more confident, capable students."

Kids Play Space provides a variety of strategies for caregivers and therapist to promote playful interactions with everyday items and activities   So if you are looking for a way to avoid "plastic fantastic", hop, skip and jump over to Australia's Kids Play Space, where Anna Meadows will make you look at your surroundings with a more playful eye.

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