You know the whole craze with wooden toys and wooden blocks? Yes, I was once caught up with that. After all, they look so instagram-worthy. So I bought a very expensive wooden rainbow. I was so excited to let my toddler play with it.
The first time, she played with it for a grand total of 5 minutes. We tried again. Still not much interest. You know how some instagram accounts drone on ad nauseum about how all children would love open play with wooden toys and how it is beneficial to let them play on their own?
Well I guess my toddler is just one of those exceptions then. But no bother! I would very much prefer engaging her in play rather than leave her to play by herself for hours. After all, it’s the bonding that counts right?
So I am here to share more about the activities we engage with our young girls aged 4 and 1:
Reading can be so much fun when you introduce play elements. You can choose books with pop up or flap elements for the younger ones, or even use finger puppets to illustrate the story! We also read Moonlite stories, which are really useful in piquing a child’s interest in reading, because the projection element especially as a pre bedtime story really captures their attention. You don’t even need to buy the books – our public libraries are so well stocked!
I am hardly an outdoorsy person, but we still try because we believe children need their outdoor play. Going outdoors doesn’t mean we have to dress up and go to some fancy beach club at Sentosa or do some fancy picnic at the Botanic Gardens. Mostly we just head down to the stadium nearby to let the kids run around. We take this opportunity to introduce games we played as kids ourselves, like police and thief. We even made use of the lines on the grass patch – catcher can only run along the lines!
3. Role play
My kids love role-playing and this can be played in so many forms. They love to role-play as chefs in the kitchen – we just issue them a menu! They also like to dress up as their favourite cartoon characters and dance around the house.
4. Childhood games
Hide-and-seek, BINGO, card memory games – these can all be so much fun! Hide some toys around the house and get them to find them, or turn play into a learning experience when you lay out alphabet cards and get them to remember their positions! We often explore many different ways of playing with cards – our animal home cards can be used as a guessing game – get your child to describe the characteristics of the animal and guess away!
5. Craft activities
Just google crafts with kids and you can easily find loads of sample crafts with kids. What we like to do is determine the main material to be used, ie popsicle sticks or cotton buds, then use that as a starting point to find appropriate crafts! We find that kids are often happy with just simple painting or glueing so crafting really makes for a great bonding activity!
I hope that the above can provide you with some ideas on how to engage your child in play without blowing lots of money on expensive wooden or open play toys! The sky’s the limit, so play away!