Mirror play using child safe mirrors is a fun way for 2 – 3 year olds to learn about self care and develop independence and can also be used for PHSE activities or to stimulate children’s natural curiosity as part of an About Me topic.
For mirror play, we used
- Soft Mirror Shapes Pack These mirrors can either be fixed to the wall or placed on the floor
- A selection of toys and puppets
- Tooth brushes and toothpaste
- Coats, hats and other outdoor clothing
One of our children loved the freedom to explore by crawling and walking all over the mirrors, as he could view himself from another perspective he hadn’t seen before. Child friendly and safe, these mirrors can be handled by children without fear of them shattering.
Mirror play to encourage self care
I have recently purchased these mirrors as a way of teaching very young children how to dress and start to become independent in personal hygiene routines. We have been practising how to take off our coats and hang them up ourselves with prompts. This is fun when children can see themselves in action and may even encourage a reluctant mood to self-dress.
By having the perfectly sized mirrors located in a particular area, for example next to the coat hook area or next to the sink area, children will learn to use them as part of a daily routine.
I am currently teaching children to brush their teeth with the use of puppets, their own labelled toothbrush and toothpaste. They quickly come to realise which is their own reinforcing literacy skill or colour recognition (if their toothbrush is defined by a colour). I use the puppet buddies or myself to model the actions we use when brushing teeth along with introducing new language such as “softly, up, down, around, or for coats, “zip, down, up, keep going”. This activity keeps them engrossed for some time as they enjoy seeing their reflection and use of gross and fine motor movements in action.
“It is important to model and encourage daily hygiene routines from the onset” They state “that educating children about good hygiene is a very good way to avoid the spread of childhood infection. Teaching personal care and hygiene routines from an early age and principles which surround good hygiene practices, can help individuals maintain and stay healthy” This can only be achieved through leading by example. This hand washing and tooth brushing activity itself opens the door to many areas of learning including, using songs, stories, game play, discussion topics, role play and craft templates to reinforce the learning taking place.”
The mirrors can also be used as early as non-walkers as they crawl, shuffle and wriggle over them.
Using mirror play to explore emotions
The mirrors can also be used for teaching emotions. Prompt cards or expressing different emotions gives children the chance to observe and copy. They can then see their own expressions and gestures in action as they mimic my movements.
Mirrors are ideal for children to discover more about themselves and how they look. Children can sit at small chairs and tables in front of the mirrors so that they can observe their own features and draw a self portrait. By drawing an image of yourself first, children can see what they are trying to achieve before being left to create their own pictures! You can use crayons, paints or chalk.
It is always so interesting to watch a child study their own reflection, whether it be to draw a self-portrait, act out a story, dance or with imaginative play … It’s like they’re seeing themselves for the first time sometimes!
EYFS goals supported by mirror play
ELG05 Physical development: health and self-care: children practice dressing and undressing independently, successfully managing fastening buttons or laces.
ELG06 Personal, social and emotional development: self confidence and self-awareness: Children observe and talk about themselves using the mirrors.
ELG07 Personal, social and emotional development: managing feelings and behaviour: children learn to recognise how facial expressions demonstrate emotions.
ELG16 Expressive arts and design: exploring and using media and materials: children can select the materials that they would like to use to create their own self portraits and explore their use.
Fozia has a wide range of experience in childcare and delivering the EYFS. She is also a lecturer at Wiltshire College teaching and certifying childminders including early years outcomes, the characteristics of effective learning and the statutory framework. She has extensive experience in managing and working with students with profound learning difficulties and challenging/behavioural issues. She is currently studying at Yeovil University as SEN specialist teacher at degree level.
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