What’s the most important for our kids?
Walking down the aisles in the toy section at the store can be so overwhelming. Brightly coloured packaging, buttons to test, words like ‘Educational’ and ‘Learning’ plastered all over them.
This being said, I must question whether the proclaimed ‘educational’ toys are just that or is this a marketing tool used to lure consumers by appealing to the need to give the best to our kids?
Us parents always want the best for our kids. We want to give them the best start to life and the marketing crew at the toy companies are playing on this primal emotion.
Do these toys with their flashy slogans, batteries and buttons really offer our children the best educational learning experiences for their targeted age?
How important is it that our 18 months old can count to ten or recite ABCs? Why do we feel the need for academic success needs to replace discovery, the development of life skills and creativity?
Flashy toys are all programmed with a premeditated response as designed by their creators. They are built to get attention and entertain. How does this inspire creativity or imagination?
What could be an alternative to commercial toys?
Something that can be transformed into a boat, theatre, costume, possum, pirate, cubby or car. Something that can be a cave, a spaceship, a dinosaur or a carriage.
Have you heard of the saying “They have more fun with the box”? Yes, well that’s because most of the time, our kids do!
Children are inspired to be creative with the most basic materials. A cardboard box can become a cubby, a stick can become a horse, buttons become flowers, cotton balls become clouds.
If you would like to inspire creative play, take away all the predetermined responses that come with commercial toys and let your child engage in play that is lead by their imagination.
There are no right or wrongs when it comes to creative play. The only limits are your child’s imagination.
For some, this can be overwhelming. Too many choices can result in no decision made. Why not use a recent story or event as inspiration?
What skills can be gained through creative play?
Through conversations with their parents and caregivers, children can still learn about numbers and their alphabet as a secondary element to their play. They are more likely to comprehend what those numbers mean when they are put into practice.
They are also going to be exposed to other important life skills through creative play.
- Fine motor skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Social Skills
- Cognitive Thinking
- Colour Recognition
- Language Skills
- Cause and Effect
- Bilateral Coordination
- Crossing the midline
- Sequencing events
- Identifying patterns
The best gift you can provide to your child is your presence. Talking to them, validating their thoughts and opinions. Surely these are more important than ABCs and 123s?
The warmth, love and memories that come with spending time with a child’s loved ones cannot be purchased at a store.
It’s a Guest Post from Dani a busy stay at home Mum of 3 and teacher in training who is passionate about play-based learning throughout early childhood. For educational play ideas that you can do at home and parenting tips visit her blog www.playinspiredmum.com