Creative play can be the best thing you do for your kid. Experts agree that creative play can boost your child’s complex thinking and fine motor skills. Not only does it develop basic math and problem solving skills, it also boosts your kid’s ability to focus. Creative activities also give your child a positive way to express their feelings, and to learn social skills through sharing and interacting with other kids.
Creative play is my favourite kind of play for two reasons – not only do my kids get engaged on a deep level, which means they’re out of my hair for long stretches of time, it also means kids do all the work, so no more noisy, battery-operated toys in this house!
To really unleash your kid’s creativity and encourage creative play at home, it’s best to create a safe space that can double as a storage space for their toys. Don’t just leave creative play to daycare or preschool, allow your child ample opportunity to try it out at home, as well.
Next, start with a few of these basics!
Wooden blocks – these can stand-in for ANYTHING. Chairs, food, you name it! Start small with simple wooden blocks, and then extend the play with vibrant colours and oddball shapes!
Modelling clay – think of it as advanced Playdoh. Your kid can use it again and again, for hours!
Pretend jobs – do you have a budding doctor on your hands? Or perhaps your animal loving child wants to be a veterinarian? Or even a knight? These kits include everything you need to help you get started.
Play tent – you might not think you need this, but the first time your child falls asleep in it you’ll never look back. ezbuy.sg has a wide array of adorable play tents, including this easily folded (and put away) version.
Don’t forget – all these toys have to get put away somewhere. While many childhood experts recommending creating a safe “yes space” where anything goes, that isn’t always feasible in Singapore, where space is at a premium.
Instead, pick up some storage bins to tidy everything away when your kids are done playing. These are colourful and make organising a snap – up your parenting level to “expert” and sort your creative play toys into separate containers and cycle them through the play room. When your kids get sick of playing “zoo”, put away the animals and bring out the cooking. It’ll be like Christmas all year long!
Tips on getting started
It’s not always easy to get kids to play creatively, especially if you are competing for their attention. Start by turning off the TV, and following your child’s lead. It’s easy for us adults to start making rules (even small ones!) about play. Allowing the kids to decide the rules of their play encourages them to continue. Sure, the dragon might be swimming when we all know dragons are meant to fly, but as long as the kid is playing, who cares!
Pretend play can feel foreign at first, but it’s an investment that pays dividends for your sanity and your child’s early learning skills! Sometimes your kids play so well that you can start to pursue your own creative activities – it can really change your life. You’ll notice it the first time you get to drink your tea while it’s still hot!
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