Mirror Play by Jenny Hemming
TickiT Wooden Exploratory Mirror
A mirror is such a fascinating and key resource for play and development. Right from being a baby children love to gaze at their reflection and this is so important for self-recognition and awareness. As they become older, this sense of self-awareness deepens further and they begin to recognise that it is their own reflection that they can see and to experiment with movement and cause and effect. As they reach the toddler stage they begin to experiment with facial expressions and begin to recognise emotions and mimic them. Older children can explore the scientific concepts of reflections, light, refraction and play around with symmetry. There are so many opportunities to explore mirrors through play and to develop self-awareness, creative skills, fine motor skills, language and imagination, scientific understanding and observational skills. Even as an adult I’ve been enthralled by our play on the TickiT Exploratory mirror!
As soon as our mirror arrived, Little Bear jumped straight in and spent ages just looking at his reflection and moving and giggling, it really captured his attention. It reflects in many directions and seemingly into infinity, it really is fascinating! This was a great first step to explore the mirror and I highly recommend it as a starting point. We have used our mirror in so many different ways since then in the few short weeks that we’ve had it. It just adds a whole new and interesting dimension to play!
Here are some ways that we have used our TickiT Wooden Exploratory mirror so far...
Emotions and feelings
We used our Tickit Wooden treasures to create the features on a playdough face shape to explore emotions and feelings. As we created the facial features, we talked about and pointed them out in the mirror. We then practiced happy and sad faces and changed the mouth shape appropriately. We had a lot of fun doing this and will explore different feelings and emotions over time. It is so important for mental health and development to be able to recognise and identify feelings and emotions and mirror play really supports this.
We created a dinosaur small world scene for role play and storytelling which supports imagination, literacy and language development. The mirror adds so much depth and interest to this play! We plan on using the mirror for many small world set ups
We collected some nature finds whilst out on a walk and included as many different colours and textures as we could, as well as including things we already had. This is a great activity for connecting with nature, developing vocabulary, exploring colours and texture. The mirror allows a view from many different angles as well as providing depth and reflections into infinity. We also used our Tickit Easy-hold Magnifier to investigate! Later on, we also added some twinkly lights around the nature items and explored it in the dark which was wonderful!
I think a snail exploration could work well on the mirror, what do you think?
Creating pictures, mandalas and patterns
This is an activity to be enjoyed by all ages, adults included. We used our TickiT Wooden Treasures to create pictures Little Bear was familiar with. In time, we will create patterns and mandalas with them too. It really is wonderful to see your creations reflected in all directions! You could create the same pattern together just by looking in the mirror and trying to place your piece in the same spot. Only look down to see how it went once you’ve finished! It is also a great opportunity to explore symmetry.
Mirrors are a great surface to paint on! It also provides the template for you to paint over the reflections, making it a lovely accessible art activity for those who might be a little reluctant without a guide- another activity for all ages! I can’t recommend this enough. We painted outdoors and it was such a mindful experience seeing the nature, sky and clouds reflected all around and listening to the birdsong.
The mirror is the perfect surface for this! We added a little water to our paint and dribbled it across the mirror. I then provided Little Bear with some cotton buds and he was able to swirl, connect and make patterns, it looked really effective!
I really can’t recommend the Exploratory mirror enough. TickiT also sell a Four Way Corner Mirror and a Wooden Mirror Tray which are also excellent options for mirror play. I hope you have as much fun with yours as we have! Please do feel free to share any mirror play with me on Instagram, I'd love to see your ideas to inspire our play too.
Don't forget to tag @tickit_education and use #tickitplay on all of your TickiT play posts!
I hope you’ve found some inspiration. Thanks for reading!
Written by By Jenny Hemming, mother and early years educator.