Want your children to engage in creative play but avoid filling your home with branded plastic toys? So do we! Here are a few handy hints for creative play!
- Re-imagine cardboard packaging
- Make art a priority
Art with young children may be messy but do not underestimate the power of art and craft! Washable paint and glue allow children to express themselves and reduce the amount of cleaning up afterwards. Non-toxic paint is an option for curious fingers, as is yogurt-based paint made with food colouring. Edible paint recipes abound online and mean that age is no limit to creativity.
- Provide open-ended toys
Many toys available today are very elaborate but not very versatile. After all, a superhero doll can feature sound effects and multiple accessories but its identity is cemented as a superhero. Open-ended toys such as building blocks can become city walls one day, and even a fiery dragon the next day! We’re not suggesting banning all superheroes. Instead, try mixing in some open-ended toys and you’ll be amazed at how it expands your child’s play ideas beyond the superhero!
- Turn bath time into play time
Creative play in water opens up a whole new world for little ones. A small collection of waterproof toys is great for sensory exploration and learning. Plastic fish and rubber ducks are tried and tested favourites, but why not add other sea creatures or MOLUK Pluï Rain Clouds and Rainballs to turn your bathtub into a real ocean?
- Encourage gender-neutral toys
Often the mountain of pink or blue toys begin piling up before a baby is even born, but breaking down gender distinctions is key to raising happy, well-adjusted children who can take on the world! The key to overcoming gender stereotyping and the creative limitations it imposes on children is selecting toys that are gender-neutral. The perfect time to start is in early childhood, where excellent gender-neutral toys such as the MOLUK Oogi are already available. An added bonus is that as your children grow, these toys can be handed down to younger siblings or cousins of either gender, saving both money and the environment.
- Read early, read often
Young children require something to spark their natural creativity and reading is the perfect activity to nurture growing imaginations!
Many parents have the misconception that reading is a purely educational activity with the objective of literacy competence. While books are integral to literacy development, the focus for young children should be on the characters and narrative components. Encourage your child to describe the characters or predict what might come next! Pure picture books encourage the child to use his or her own language to narrate stories.
Books paired with toys are also a powerful combination for open-ended play. Encourage your child to act out stories or spin-offs with whatever props they can find during story reading! Little Llama’s Read and Play Collection provides a convenient way to get started.
We already know that creative play is far more than simply a pleasurable activity. It requires spontaneity, innovation and confidence, qualities that are highly valued in our dynamic and competitive world. If we make creative play a priority, we can be confident that we are creating safe and fun experiences for our children while laying the foundations for their future success.