A child’s main occupation in life is PLAY, which puts it high up the ladder of priorities in the world of child care. As promised earlier, this article is dedicated to parents who are looking for simple affordable ideas to boost their children’s play skills as well as overall development through play.
When it comes to purposeful play, simplicity works just fine. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive at all. All you need to do is introduce simple themes and play tasks in a way that captures your child’s attention, and maintains it.
As mentioned in my previous article, sensorimotor/exploratory play is the first type of play to develop in a child’s life. Such type of play could be introduced through simple cause and effect toys (e.g., spin-top toys). Better yet, do not buy any toys. Instead, have your infant join you while you do your house work, and give him/her cups of different textures and weights, as well as spoons of different materials (stay away from heavy items that could risk your child’s safety, plastic kitchen tools could be a good alternative). Model for your baby how to bang cups together or hit them with provided spoons/utensils to make sounds. Your child can feel different textures, as well as learn how different materials cause different sounds when banged or hit with utensils. A child can also learn how different cups have different weights when he/she attempts to lift them off table surface or bang them together. For extra fun, put some uncooked rice/beans/etc. in a small-sized plastic water bottle (an empty one), seal the cap with a piece of tape, and have your child shake it to hear corresponding sound. You can add different quantities in different bottles and let your child experiment with lifting and shaking differently weighted bottles.
Such type of play could also be targeted through allowing your child to play with different textures (you can try playing with whipped cream, jelly, or even his/her food before eating it). Moreover, sensorimotor play should involved a motor factor to build the basis for your child’s motor skills. Movement activities could include alternating between walking and running on different surfaces, or around a maze of furniture. Dancing to music also never to fails you with your children. Dance, assume different postures and encourage your little one to imitate you. You can also do such activities in front of a mirror for novelty and added fun.
Social play could be targeted through hosting play-dates at your place. Start with allowing the children to play next to each other in parallel type of play, then gradually encourage exchanging and sharing toys. Scheduling and guiding play-dates could be distributed between you and the other child’s parents, thus giving you some free time to pamper your self every once in a while. Gradually add the number of children involved in your play-date to encourage further and more complex social interaction.
Furthermore, Gross motor play could also be done in your neighborhood park, your backyard, or even inside your house. Rough housing, pillow fights, furniture obstacle courses, and ball play are few of many many ideas that you could enjoy with your little one, for no money at all.
Pretend play could also be done resource free. just use items available around your house. A comb could become a microphone, and stuffed teddy-bears are perfect to feed using tea spoons, while an old kettle could hold the greatest pretend tea-party of all times.
Lego, blocks, and puzzles are perfect examples for constructional type of play. Make your own puzzles from cardboard. Further and encourage your child to stack items of different sizes according to size- for example: small box goes on top of large box.
It is important for parents to note that it would be perfect if one room, or even a corner in the living room, is dedicated for their child’s play. This helps the child understand that there
Following are a few examples of websites that always offer ideas of simple free play:
Photo Credit: picsfive