We go to the park every day. It is very close to our home. From time to time we change the location and choose another park. Yesterday morning I decided  to take her to the biggest park in our home town. I know she likes it. We had to take the bus. It was a good chance to do with my daughter thinking activities related to "being / going somewhere". I started to ask her questions (in Romanian, our language) in order to make some comparison between the two parks. I have to say that my daughter, T., is 4 years old.

Me: It's very nice in here, isn't it?

T: Yes, it is.

Me: What do you like about this park?

T. It is beautiful and it has more playgrounds than ours.

Me: Anything else? Why do you think it is beautiful?

T: Why do you ask?

She just looked at me seriously...

Me: I try to find out why do you like more this place.

T: (again seriously) Why do you ask?


So, I didn't say anything. I felt like I had failed somehow. I let her play.


On the way home, we took the bus. Suddenly I remembered another "game"- question about the surroundings (three properties given and guess). It was succesful. 20 minutes of playing on the bus plus another few hours at home... Exhausted me and my husband. But it felt good. And I am pretty sure that I gave this idea to people from the bus to play with their children.  We had fun.

Playing this game, she discovered a lot of things on the bus that she hadn't seen before. At the beginning, while she thought at an object and started to describe it, she was looking at it, so it was very easy to guess. Also she used for a few times as a feature "beautiful". I explained to her that it is not a good criteria because people see things differently, not everything that it is beautiful to her is beautiful to others. I have noticed that she uses frequently aspects related to size, shape, color and it has difficulties when it comes about the material (wood, glass, plastic, iron etc) even though she knows about them. We have to still practice.

Even if I had some trouble with comparison things, I will try to do it later with her, with another topic, not parks.


02 Jul 2013, 05:39
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What I like about kids, you never know what they will come up with in the next minute:D Park C was definitely a surprising discovery, now you will know where to take her more often - to a rose-full place where birds can be fed:)
Sounds like the mediator worked well, Teona was not suspicious and wanted to show the park to her bunny-friend, so my congratulations!:)
I think that for parents the most difficult part is to learn to react to these unexpected replies turning them into continuous open-ended thinking discussion and at the same time keep the child motivated. It takes time, of course, but I am sure it will be easier and easier if you keep practising:) Since you were not able to proceed with comparing the parks, one option could have been to ask 'who wouldn't like park C and why' and 'who would prefer park A/B and why'. But it's just one of the options, I am sure you will come up with the better one yourself, Simona:)
I used a mediator in another discussion about the favorite park. Before going out I let her choose a toy to take it with us to the park. We don't usually take toys to the park. It was something new. On the way I asked her why did she choose the pink bunny. She said that she could not take another toy, like the ones who makes noise, because she don't want babies to see them and to ask for them. I asked her why does she think that the pink bunny is not attarctive for babies. She said: "because it is big". I told her that when she need a break, we can stay on a bank and have a discussion with our guest bunny. It was interesting. She really enjoyed it. The bunny asked her which park does she like more, the one near to our home (park A) or the biggest one from out town (park B). Again her answer surprised me. "I like more park C" :-) Park "C" is The Roses Park.
The bunny said: "Ok. Why do you like it?"
T: Because it has roses and you can feed the bird.
Bunny: But there is no playgroung there.
T: We have a lot here. (In park A and of course B)
It was difficult to continue the questions because all she wanted was to show park C to bunny .
I really liked the answer. I remember that we started to laugh. It really surprised me.
So, still have to work on comparison parks... :-)
Dear Simona,
I am glad to hear the comments provided you with a new input! Looking forward to read the new results!
Thank you all! :-) I feel supported and it gives me a nice feeling. I have also to say sorry for my English...
@ Alexander, I will try to use a toy today, to make comparison between parks and I will be surprised of some things as Renata suggested. You asked me to give some details about the game played in the bus. It will be a little difficult for me because I don't really know how to translate some "parts" from the bus. The features she gave were simple but I was proud of the fact that she was really thinking how to describe and she gesticulated a lot. Also I tried not to guess from the beginning. That made her feel really great.
She asked:
- WHat is square, stuck (as a sticker) and has a cross - first aid sticker
- It is looooong :-), used a lot, round (she meant tubular) - the bus handrail (I hope this is the word) :-)
- It is colored, lots of images and rectangle - advertise on the bus
- It is a man, is spins something round and has a window behind - the driver
- What is rectangle, has buttons and makes a kind of noise sometime - composted ticket machine
- It is round, has a line (she meant strip)and it is hanged - the pipe hanger (hope this is the word)
- It is rectangle, transparent and has black on the margin - the door
This are some of the questions. We continued at home using things we have in the living room and kitchen. We involved my husband too.
@ Renata, you are right. She is not so used to open questions not in some cisrcumstance. I will make a tradition! :-)
@Marija, while I read the PASS guidelines a lot of ideas come into my mind... I is good!
Thank you all again, for your support and nice words! :-)
Dear Simona,

it is very nice indeed to finally read about some experience parents are having with our materials! I think you shouldn't be worried at all, your daughter's reaction is very natural, so you just make sure all your attempts to involve her into some PASS activities stay authentic. That means, that you will be improvising a lot, depending on what T. will respond, and maybe she will lead your game in a completely new direction, you never know with kids :) I have a 3 y. o. daughter myself, so I know what I'm talking about :)
My point is: Don't be afraid of questions like "Why do you ask?" It's natural for her to ask, so relax and answer from the context of the situation. Don't try to follow the PASS guidelines "whatever it takes". I have a strong feeling, that you have a good sense for including creative activities into your everyday routine. Your "report" sounds inspiring, keep going and don't forget to tell us more about it! All the best for you and your daughter! :)
Glad to read about your experience! I like particularly the reaction of your daughter to your question:) I'd say it's a good sign she became suspicious. It means that she is not used to such open questions that you tried her to ask, therefore it is important to keep asking them to make it a tradition in your family:) And I also think that it was good of you not to start pushing the question further without knowing how to reduce the situation of non-acceptance of such a question!

I like the suggestion of using the mediator to make the establishment of such a tradition less 'suspicious' for your child. I once tried to use a toy mediator for speaking English to my 7 year old nephew and I was surprised how easy he accepted the rule and accepted the foreign language in the game! So in your case, I am sure the child will accept open questions easier from a toy mediator who, for instance, just wants to make friends with your daughter:)

One more suggestion which I have in mind is that before you expect your child to give open answers you can voice your point of view more openly and more often yourself. For instance, entering a new park, you can show a surprise how much different it is from the park B where you've been a few days ago and start comparing the two parks yourself. Then, you can ask your daughter to help you remember what else is different or similar. So instead of asking a strange question out of a blue, you involve the child in your own reflection on the subject. I am sure, after some time, your daughter will no longer ask you this scary question "Why do you ask":)
In any case, I'll be interested to read about your further experience!

Glad to hear the game in the bus turned to be successful, cognitively exhausting and inspiring for others!
Simona, welcome to the blog and many thanks for sharing. It's always a pleasure to hear from the parents.

It's interesting that your daughter responded with a question addressed to you. Perhaps you could try to use a mediator and ask this question from a different persona next time. For example, it's not you who is curious about T's opinion but one of the toys she likes.

Can I also ask you about more details regarding the game you were playing on the bus? I am sure many readers will find them interesting. Perhaps you could share the dialogue like you did with the exchange in the part.

Many thanks.