In the time of COVID-19, now, more than ever, children need to be engaged in creative play. No one could have predicted the times we live in now when families are so connected but need to distance from others. While it might seem easy to rely on electronics for play, they distract from the importance of learning through play and family interaction. Play is one of the most important educational tools we have. Children imagine, think, develop, execute and implement all while busy at play. It can stimulate both the left side and the right side of a child’s brain. It happens when a child builds a fort from pillows, blocks, sand, or even snow. It happens when kids write a play and put on a show using an adult’s closet as a costume shop. A parent can almost see the kids’ minds in motion. It happens all the time. Encourage it!
I’ve been writing KIDFUN for years. What’s KIDFUN? It‘s those easy-to-do ideas for play that use materials already in the home. It’s not about buying toys for kids or giving them electronics. It’s about creating fun yourselves. It’s about the fun YOU had when you were young. Think back when a package arrived at your home in a big carton. How much fun was it to climb in that carton and make it a house! I remember making a band with my brother and parents, too, using pots, pans, lids and large wooden spoons from the kitchen as musical instruments. That is a memory I cherish!
In KIDFUN: 401 Easy Ideas for Play, Ages 2 to 8, published by Wordeee, all the chapters are broken into typical situations like rainy days, snowy days, fun at the beach and pool, bedtime, bath time, fun in the kitchen, at parties, etc. etc. There’s even a chapter on KIDFUN gifts – unexpected gifts that bring hours of fun like a dress up box, a face painting kit, etc. etc. It’s written for parents, grandparents, teachers, babysitters and anyone who cares for a young child.
As a former teacher, I’m aware that many parents don’t realize their children are always learning, especially while at play. While electronics are part of our everyday lives both for recreation and education, by shutting down smart phones and smart TVs, we are turning on a switch to creativity. We are opening their minds to tremendous growth potential as well as expanded opportunities for bonding between adults and children. It’s so easy to find a moment for laughter, to share in their fun by being creative together. For example, all ages can try to balance a paper plate on their heads, with no touching, while tiptoeing around a room. Or, play badminton in the house with a balloon as the birdie, a paper plate as the paddle and a rope tied on two chairs that are spread apart as the net. Put a sheet over a table, then crawl inside for story time … or lunch! Let the kids wear costumes when taking a walk and have a parade. Think of the simple fun you had as a child and be sure your kids have the same opportunities. Make play a habit today…now, more than ever.
Photos and YouTube video courtesy of Sharla Feldscher