This post is part of the Exploring Reggio series with:
This week we are sharing some ideas for using a mirror to enhance your child’s play.
We use mirrors a lot, everyday even. You’ve probably seen activities using mirrors around a fair bit recently. I think it is really great that more and more children are being offered the opportunity to play with and explore mirrors. Something so simple, so inexpensive and so easy to come by really can change an activity entirely, taking our children’s play in new directions, sparking new levels of creativity and provoking new questions and curiosities.
Take some blocks and place them on the table. Now place a long mirror behind those blocks and see how that one mirror changes the child’s play. When I first added a mirror to our block area I noticed a dramatic change in how Jack and Sarah played with the blocks. They watched themselves build, considered what their buildings looked like from all directions and added blocks to the front as well as the back of their buildings.
When you’re setting out an observational art exploration, pop a mirror underneath the subject to reflect light back onto the subject as well as draw the child’s attention to the underside of the subject.
Or just like with the blocks, place a mirror up against the wall behind a small world scene. The mirror will brighten the space and creates a sense of openness, as the blank wall has now been replaced by the small world being reflected back to the child.
Mirrors are common place in Reggio and Reggio-inspired classrooms. And too in Reggio-inspired homes like ours. The Reggio Emilia Approach places enormous value on the role of the environment for creating an inviting, engaging, beautiful, comfortable place where children feel secure and where their insatiable innate curiosities are nurtured and encouraged.
For this exploration I gathered together some interestingly textured materials along with some natural playdough as a sensory base. The wooden trays came from a thrift shop but you can use any tray which allows the child to comfortable see all the materials available to them.
I often use kitchen tiles, in this case the tile is a nice smooth work surface for the playdough. Now you’re ready.
I had noticed that when Jack is drawing or creating in some way, his faces often have very little details; usually eyes, sometimes a mouth, rarely a nose and never ears, eyebrows or eyelashes. I thought this exploration might encourage him to think about the features on his own face and recreate them using the playdough and the gathered materials.
Jack and Sarah used the materials in their own way, making their own discoveries and creating their own designs. It was interesting watching Sarah as she piled beads and woodchips and flowers onto her playdough, talking all the while about eyes, and mouths and noses.
Here’s a short video of Jack and Sarah as they played. You can see how Sarah interacts with the mirror, moving her face around and scrunching up her nose. You can also hear her talking about different facial features as she creates.
We’ll have another Exploring Reggio post in a fortnight. In the meantime, why not pop over to my co-hosts and see how they used mirrors to enhance their child’s play.