Prepare yourselves. This is one of those subjects that I’m SUPER passionate about. As a teacher and a mom, I feel very strongly about children and the power of play. May sound silly right? That a child’s ability to play is that important? Not silly at all. In an era of television and technology, it’s so easy to forget about the importance of good, old fashioned play time. While I was in New York, I met the team over at The Genius of Play…..and I probably scared them a little when I screamed “I TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!” at the top of my lungs after hearing what they had to share.What is the Genius of Play? A team of experts who realized that despite evidence of it’s importance…..the amount of time children play each day is shrinking. We all know play is important right? Playtime encourages creativity, helps children achieve developmental milestones, aids in gaining critical thinking skills, and diminishes stress. Honestly, we can probably ALL benefit from a little extra playtime!So how do you encourage play?
-start with parallel play (play next to your little one and allow them to become focused on their own activity)
-make sure toys are accessible (we just redid Lydia’s play area and included low open shelving so that she can access and select her own toys)
-provide toys that encourage open ended and imaginative play Looking for more tips? The Genius of Play site has TONS of ideas for activities written by experts! So what can YOU do? Well, I just took the Play Pledge. I pledged to support Lydia with 7 hours of play per week. Extra bonus? When families have committed to one million hours of play, a charitable donation will be made to The Toy Bank, an international giving program that makes play possible for children in need around the world. Easiest thing ever? I’m setting up a park playdate with a friend once a week. Yup, I get to see my mom friends…..and Lydia gets her playtime in. It’s a win for us both!
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Thank you to The Genius of Play for sponsoring today’s discussion.