I know… it’s ugly. But like almost any object babies encounter, they find this mini sweeper and dustpan an intriguing tool for creative play. It is an example of the simple objects we use as ‘toys’ in our parent/toddler classes and recommend for children who are past the put-everything-in-my-mouth stage.
The beauty is that it can be used creatively in multiple ways. Sometimes children use the brush as intended and sweep the corners of the room, or experiment with the ‘mechanics’ — fitting the brush into the pan by snapping the handles together, and removing it again. In a recent class, a toddler picked up the brush, exclaimed “paint…paint!”, and then proceeded to ‘paint’ the walls. Another day a boy used it to brush his hair, and when he went to brush his mother’s she gently said, “No, thank you.”
Most of us believe we should play with our toddlers and show them how things work. But if I had demonstrated, no matter how subtly, the ‘right’ way to use the sweeper and pan, the children would probably not have been encouraged to imagine the different uses this toy could have. As a visiting grandmother commented during our discussion, “That is exactly what we’d be doing in an actor’s improv class.”