Category Archives: Child play

Shiny new toys

With Christmas just behind us, I’m sure we’ve all seen our children’s toy boxes get that little bit fuller. Looking at all the children’s toys on the shop shelves, I couldn’t help but notice they are all brightly coloured to be attractive to children and stimulate their senses.

I can’t help thinking toy manufacturers have got it all wrong. If my children are left alone for 30 seconds they head straight for the black shiny kit in the room – not their colourful toys. Whether it is a remote control, tablet computer or even a glasses case, they seem to hold more appeal than the especially designed things meant for them.

Granted my two year old knows the power of the remote control, but my 9 month old is just attracted by the blackness and shinyness of it. I know I must be missing something but I’m very tempted to start my own line of baby toys and take the Henry Ford approach of offering them in a range of colours: black, black and black!

Would love to hear what toys hit the spot for your children this Christmas!

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Digital generation

childsplayI can’t help being impressed by how adept my two year old is at using my husband’s tablet computer. He can get to the menu screen, find the games we’ve saved for him, select ‘play’ before knowing his letters, as well as navigate his way around. Using a touch screen is second nature to him.

It’s not a surprise that our children are a digital generation – social media will be the norm for them.

What I did find surprising were some statistics I read in the paper this week, such as 4 percent of toddlers go online while they are at nursery. While I think it is great that they get exposure to technology (a part of our everyday lives now) so early on is great- it will make life easier for them in their education and career.

However, I would hate this to stop children spending time playing together, having creative play and looking at books.

Last weekend, my husband’s family parents and aunts / uncles came for lunch. They were reminiscing how no such technology was available to them when they were young and, not coming from a wealthy background, they had to create games for themselves to play. Thinking about the creative things they did – the imagination they used – made me slightly concerned that some of that wonder and inspiration will be lost in this digital world.

I only hope that having the whole world at your fingertips (literally with the World Wide Web) will not stop children using their imaginations and wanting to play with others.

For now, I have to admit to using an episode of my two year old’s favourite programme on the tablet as a bit of negotiation at bedtime, but it is followed by milk and books before bed – I hope the balance of tech and social play will continue.

 

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Childsplay on the farm

It dawned on me that my eldest child probably thought that cows are purple and bunnies a pale blue colour, based on a number of children’s books he has read. I felt it was time for him to see some animals close up in real life.

All four of us spent an excellent day at Bocketts Farm in Surrey. I was really amazed how well set up it was – rain or shine, there was plenty to see and do. From animal petting / feeding, through to a variety of tractor rides and soft play.

Despite how busy the car park seemed, there were no queues anywhere and plenty to do to fill up a whole day. Granted that the main attraction / takeaway from the visit for my eldest was the sit on tractor, but I feel better that my child now knows the true colours of animals and I for one can’t wait to go back!

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Precious time

This morning I kept my son home from nursery so we could spend some quality time together having some pure fun – something that doesn’t happen very often when you’re working full time as weekends go so quickly and are often filled up with mundane tasks like shopping. Today’s plan? Head to a local soft play centre.

My youngest obliged by spending the entire morning asleep sitting on the sidelines of the soft play room, letting me give my undivided attention to my eldest. It was a fun and fantastic morning for us both – although I’m not sure who enjoyed the bouncy castle the most!

There were plenty of other mums and dads there – with one or more children. Everyone friendly and happy to have a chat, which was lovely. The only downside was those keen to share their thoughts on those parents who ‘send their children’ to nursery. There are a large number of reasons why a parent would send their child to nursery – from being in a life saving job such as doctor or nurse, through to pure financial reasons to ensure their children have what they need for a comfortable lifestyle. Every parent has a lot of decisions to make about what is best for their child – what’s right for one parent / child won’t be for another.

No matter what the circumstances of the parents there today though – the children were all having a lot of fun, while also learning how to share and build on social as well as motor skills. What more could any parent want?

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Sharing is caring

This is an expression I heard one of the children in our family use and it’s really stuck with me. Originally used by the parent to encourage sharing between the four children, the child was making interesting use of it to get the piece of cake they wanted from grandpa. Children are smart!

Learning to share is part of all our development. Some, however, find it easier than others. An older sibling – especially if in the terrible twos age bracket – can find it a challenge when the new kid on the scene starts using / playing with what used to be the older child’s pride and joy.

A friend also flagged that there is likely to be a whole set of toys that don’t get played with by the younger child as they want to grow up fast and play with the older sibling and their cool toys – even if they aren’t quite ready for them. This can add to the older child’s frustrations and loud claims of ‘it’s mine’!

There is no rule book about what will work when it comes to teaching children to share, but please do share any words of wisdom.

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Soft play fun

Being on maternity leave has the great benefit of giving me more time with my 22 month old son. One activity I’ve missed out on is going to soft play areas during the week when they are slightly less busy. This morning was a great opportunity to take him to a local venue. Not only did he have a fantastic time (so much so he didn’t want to leave!) but it was also great to meet local mums with children of a similar age.

What was really impressive was the set up and support given by the local mums running the session.

It was a great, relaxed atmosphere with a nice range of toys – from soft play, through to a bouncy castle and scooters. My young son had a ball and I can see this becoming a regular event!

It’s worth looking out for soft play centres setting up at local village halls etc. You don’t need to go to a big commercial centre to have a great time.

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