As a mom of 2, I am convinced with the fact that Play is synonymous with Kids. These little people can play 24X7 365 days a year. It’s exhausting fun to watch them play and playing with them is super-tiring yet so satisfying for a parent.
I am going to list down some play options that my kids love since they were toddlers. Now one is a pre-schooler and the other is a primary school-goer and they still pounce on every opportunity of play.
Free Play –
My kids; for that matter all kids are extremely creative. They don’t always need conventional toys or structured play.
Give them anything and they can create beautiful kingdom of play out of it. Example: give them a bowl and they’ll vroom vroom it as if it’s a car. Or give them a spoon and they’ll play with it as if it’s an aeroplane. We can’t even think of the possibilities.
So sometimes, instead of playing for some definite purpose, I just let them be themselves. Believe me, it’s more fun! Aimless play becomes very meaningful after a while. I spread bucketful of toys around the kids and let them explore. These are the same toys – same cars, same play-dough, same blocks but when all of them come together? It’s a riot of laughter, a ton of imagination!
This is what I observed recently when I gave the younger one his box of toys – cars, figurines, blocks and anything and everything. Soon there was a story that got built around these toys.
Figurines became policemen and some cars became police cars. The thrilling chase between some “thief cars” and police happened. Blocks were placed as obstacles and Play dough became trees. Finally police caught the thief cars and sent them to Lego Castle jail…Mad mad world of free Play and kids! You just sit, watch them play and get amazed.
The other time some broken clothes hangers became Bow and Arrow with the siblings’ creativity.
Free unstructured play helps kids in learning to work with siblings and share things. It also leads to collaboration between them to create something new. Negotiation and conflict resolving skills are also developed when they free play.
Free Play allows kids to be themselves, gives the freedom to choose and improves decision-making ability. Kids are their own leaders and the rules are set by them too in unstructured play. So naturally, it becomes their responsibility to abide by.
Recently came across this wonderful article about how we can indulge our little ones in the messy world of paint. I have let my kids try it and they had a blast!
Let the child be the child, after all!
Water is life for our bodies and it gives new life to kids’ play too. My kids are crazy when it comes to water Play. Whichever form of water Play, they are ever-ready!
Going to Swimming pools, vacation to beach destinations, cable-ski Parks, water playgrounds and silly things like playing with water while taking bath give immense joy to kids.
As a parent, I just love water play because we parents can also take active part in it and enjoy equally. Splashes of water, Bubbles of water – Is that all water play offers? Not really. It actually opens many doors of imagination since it’s an open-ended play.
I have seen my kids becoming sharks, pirate ships and lifeguards when they play while taking bath. So much fun! And when they go to swimming pools, obviously swimming techniques are learnt. Needless to say that it is such a great exercise.
Going to beaches is another fulfilling activity we parents should regularly have with kids. Sea gives that sense of calmness and building sand castles is priceless. My son and his dad have loads of fun with monster trucks on the beach.
These days, in Singapore, we have some new ways to play with water. My daughter loved learning the ropes of Cable-Skiing and Water Playgrounds are always favorite!
Sometimes when kids play in water, we might get a bit irritated because they just won’t stop playing with water. In this case, we have to remind ourselves about the benefits of Water play. When kids are pouring, squeezing, stirring water, it encourages the development of eye/hand coordination.
Water play also strengthens their gross motor skills when they run and splash water or jump in the puddle or hop through a sprinkler. When children touch water – cold or warm, try to taste it – sweet or salty, when they touch the sand or seashells, little ones, it’s nothing but sensory water play.
No one can deny the soothing and calming qualities of water. So definitely, water play is one of the most relaxing activities children can experience.
What are your ways to spend time in water? Do share.
Jump, Climb, Slide and Bounce –
No wonder we parents sometimes refer to our kids as monkeys or bunnies. Aren’t they always ready to jump and bounce at the drop of a hat? And slides – whatever the size is – Giant or minuscule, kids must try it at least once. Climbing is another kids’ favorite activity. Right from climbing stairs to mountains they find climbing attractively challenging.
Parents need to be a bit cautious and ensure safety of children when they jump, climb, slide and bounce. Take care of safety and let them enjoy these calorie-burning, muscles-endurance activities.
Jump, climb, slide or bounce activities ensure that the whole body is working in co-ordination. Some of the physical benefits include: Core muscles get stronger, Hands, fingers, legs and shoulders also get strengthen.
Generally, these physical activities kids do in groups so there are some social benefits of jumping, climbing, sliding and bouncing. Example: They have to take turns and share time slots. Kids also have to take the lead and collaborate with the team.
We have visited lot of playgrounds, trampoline parks and climbing arenas. How about you?
Role Play comes naturally to Kids. Right from toddlerhood, they like to pretend-play the roles of their moms and dads. When they start pre-school, their Favourite role is that of a teacher.
Role Play playgrounds in Singapore have brought galore of role plays consisting of different occupations and professions that kids can try and explore – right from doctor, police, Scientist and journalist to Chef, construction workers, childcare Teachers and so on.
Based on my kids’ experience, I can say that Role plays have many advantages:
- Parents can keep their kids engaged in role Play activities for hours. Role Play allows kids to explore their own likes and dislikes. It also helps them to choose their future profession to an extent.
- Role plays allow children to step into the shoes of others and make sense of real-life situations.
- Development of social skills through interaction with others, better understanding of different perspectives are some other benefits of role plays.
- Role Plays encourage kids to express their ideas, voice out suggestions in a safe and relaxed environment.
The main point of this post is to emphasize the importance of play and how it helps our kids to grow, learn and be prepared for the future.
Moms, do share with me some exciting ideas of play that you have explored for your little ones. 🙂
This blog post is in collaboration with Friso.
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