The Play Forum is a collection of voices from parents and people in the toy and children’s entertainment industries. Read what’s on their minds, and join the conversation.
If you want to see creativity and imagination, then watch a child play for an hour. It always amazes me how interesting lifeless toys and objects can be to a child. My children are toddlers: Santi a 3-year-old and Cami a 2-year-old. Every day is a learning experience not only for them but also for me as a parent.
Every momma has her strategies for keeping her child busy. I have found that when I allow my children to simply be themselves and explore not only their rooms and toys but also the entire world around them, they learn more efficiently. The following observations have been helpful when allowing my children to grow and develop in a timely and healthy manner. The following tips have worked for me personally, but every child and his environment is different.
Allow your children to freely express themselves. My son and my daughter are both free spirits. I have found that when I simply allow them to be themselves, it truly allows them to develop a healthy sense of self. They are happy and natural in all environments.
Let them ask questions. We all know that once children reach a certain age and begin to speak, they have questions. Some days, no matter how difficult of a day I have had, I have found that if I simply answer their questions with true and sincere answers, they not only have less questions but they also truly absorb your answers.
And finally, offer options. We live in a home where nothing is labeled or off limits. I have found that the more gender neutral I am the easier it is to explain gender itself. The only time we label certain toys as gender specific is when my children ask specific questions. But even at that, I have found that if my daughter can play with the dump truck and my son can feed the talking baby doll allowing for peace and quiet time in our home, then there is no need for toys to be labeled as “his” or “hers”.
While I have made these observations about my children, I am sure that my children are the best observers of all. They watch, say, and do everything momma and daddy do! No matter what I do, I try to make their playtime a time for them to be free from daily structure and routine. They laugh, they enjoy, and in return we have a happy and peaceful home.
How do your children play? What has been most effective for your home?