Thoughts On Play | 10 things to do with children under 5.
Play is an important element of children’s lives, and there is now greater emphasis that children should learn through play. The REPEY project (Siraj-Blatchford et al, 2002) showed that children who made the most progress had been offered play-based learning opportunities with curriculum, social and positive learning objectives and communication skills.
This is like telling some parents to suck eggs but just bear with me as I do have a point. I also realised that in some cultures play is not that important. In Mexico, for example, parents rarely participate playing with children. Some of us are from cultures where our parents worked and we didn’t grow up with the idyllic family life where our parents got down on their knees to play with us. That was our reality.
It is not that we don’t want to play with our kids but the question is how? Sometimes we don’t know how to play with our children. I noticed my friends who have teaching backgrounds are just incredible and natural at parenthood. Their house is a replica of a mini nursery and their kids are extremely advanced. I try to take inspiration from there.
Here are some things I discovered to do with the kids:
- Talk to your children all day about everything and anything that interest them.
- Cook with them. Let them learn and touch the food that they eat.
- Hide numbers and alphabets around the house and let them hunt them down (gives you 10 minutes for a nice cup of tea)
- Bake with your children – it teaches patience and self-control
- Get the children to cut up pictures from an old magazine to make their own personal scrapbook. My son just searches for cars. (teaches co-ordination whilst cutting and sticking)
- Reading to the children – the gift of reading is probably the best thing a parent can gift to their child.
- Let the child repeat things over and over again (boring for us!) but that is how their minds discover and link things.
- Walk in the park to discover and play. If you live near a forest, park or beach, walks can teach children how to appreciate their environment.
- Take empty egg carton, plastic bottles and other such materials to make anything that captures their imagination; pirate ships, mini-castles, dolls beds and jewellery boxes.
- Buy some non-toxic face paint and paint at home