I wanted to share one of the recent additions to my library’s play space. One of the permanent pieces in our children’s area is a child-size floor-length mirror that is meant to be used with dress-up clothes. However, when I started there were no dress-up clothes to be found (and honestly I have a bit of an ick-factor with offering dress-up clothes). The mirror stood lonely and forgotten beside some manipulative play boards. So I decided to turn it into an early literacy activity!
I’ve seen similar ideas for the front of circulation desks and thought it would be a great way to utilize the mirror. It encourages kids and grown-ups to talk about feelings, read the words associated with the faces, and have fun practicing the faces together. I plan to swap the images/emotions out every couple of months to keep it fresh.
Faces and images of real people are stimulating to little ones, even from infancy. Babies are hardwired to recognize faces, which helps them connect with their caregivers early on. Research shows that newborns will look at pictures of 3 dots longest if they are arranged as a face (2 dots for eyes and one dot for a mouth). How cool is that?
I put this up on Thursday and came back to work two days later to find the images all moved around and the frames nowhere to be found. At first I was bummed and annoyed–this is why we can’t have nice things!–and then I realized that this was evidence that it had been played with. That’s a good thing! I am always happy to see books removed from a display or gaps where things have been pulled off the shelf, so why not allow myself to feel the same way about the play area being in slight disarray? I decided to let the frames go, even though they’re so cute, because they took awhile to hand laminate and ain’t nobody got time for that. 🙂