I recently discovered an awesome local business. Caley Kukla is the owner and founder of Play with Purpose, and she is on a mission to educate parents about early childhood development, and to provide coaching on how to better understand our children’s behavior. After following her on Instagram, I learned about the Toddler Play Class, which meets at We Rock the Spectrum in Jupiter/Tequesta every Tuesday.
I signed up with my 22-month old toddler, Luke, and the next week we arrived at We Rock the Spectrum. Luke was thrilled to be there, and got busy playing with the many toys, toddler gymnastics equipment, and swings, that it has to offer.
The toddler play class aims to help parents and children learn developmentally appropriate strategies to play cooperatively, act independently, and model positive emotion coaching. This helps to reinforce desired prosocial behavior in toddlers while fostering their independence and creativity, and minimizing tantrums.
The class began with a sensory bin for the babies to explore, and they had fun using utensils to scoop different items, and manipulating toys, while working on their fine motor skills. Next, Caley introduced a visual schedule of each class, including a sensory bin, circle time, story, craft activity, followed by more playtime, and a goodbye song.
Throughout the class, Caley pointed out typical toddler behaviors each child demonstrated, such as taking a toy from a friend, waiting their turn, or staying with the group during the activity. She talked about ways to positively reinforce the prosocial behavior that we want to teach our toddlers, like not hitting a friend who grabs a toy from them, by: observing the behavior (“I see he took that toy, and you were still having a turn.”); offering an empathetic solution (“While you’re waiting for your turn, how about you play with this other toy?”); and praising them for staying within the compassionate limits that you set (“Great job waiting your turn.”)
Afterwards, we enjoyed more playtime at We Rock the Spectrum, which is included for the whole day, with the price of the class. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it! Babies, toddlers, and young children will love playing there, especially as the weather heats up and we need fun places to play inside. There is so much to do, including a zip line and trampoline.
It has been fun each week to chat with other moms and dads of toddlers, have a dedicated time to play with my youngest child, and learn about this stage of his development. Play with Purpose also offers individual parent coaching, and social development classes for preschool aged children.