In an interview for The Fred Rogers Oral History Project, Sara Lindey, Ph.D. asked me “Are children today happy to play in a cardboard box or have times changed?”
I believe that YES, kids today are happy to play in a cardboard box and should. Imagination and play is very important for kids. My shows celebrate imagination and enriching play for preschoolers – but on television it looks different. Because the way kids learn from television is different than they way they learn from play.
In my research, I have found that kids learn more from television and have a longer attention span for all things visual. In order to extend the learning in their every day play, we need to show our stories in as visual a way as possible. So, on television, the cardboard box can be a box but then morphs into the space ship kids are pretending it to be (with lots of rich galactic vocabulary and actions) and then back to the cardboard box.
Scaffolding the play this way gives kids wings – and they soar into learning! Watch the interview from The Fred Rogers Oral History Project, entitled “Imagination & Attention” right HERE.