7 Tips to Encourage Creativity During Playtime

encourage creative playPlay time is an important part of growing up. In today’s busy world, we sometimes forget that for little minds, play is learning. If we want to give our children the best life we can, the first years have to involve lots of play, alone and with others. Here are some ways you can stimulate creative play.

1. Make time for play.

Play shouldn’t be something your kids do between errands, school, and chores. It’s an important part of growing up and you should make sure they have ample free time to get to it. They don’t need packed schedules and direct stimulation; they need to explore the world in their own way.

2. Eliminate some after school programs.

Many parents think they need to cram as much as they can into their kids’ day to boost their development. This often backfires. The kids are exhausted and bored, so they don’t pay attention and disregard whatever they’re being taught. These parents have good intentions, but they likely aren’t helping. A few extra-curricular activities are good, but leave time for free time.

3. Accept chaos.

When your kids (babies and toddlers) in strong, developmentally beneficial play, you’re going to have an untidy home. They’ll pick up and discard toys as their game requires. Don’t chase them around, cleaning up their mess. The goal is to let your child’s mind wander and take her where it will. In fact, dive into the game with her!

4. Offer open-ended toys.

Board games and arts-and-crafts are fun, but they don’t offer many developmental advantages. These can only be played with in a certain way, so your child doesn’t have the opportunity to use his or her imagination. Stock your playroom with dress up costumes, blocks, dolls, toy cars/trucks, and anything else that can be played with in many ways.

5. Start the imaginative game yourself.

If your kids are struggling to come up with something to play, dive in yourself. Recruit them to help you explore an alien planet, invite them to your tea party, or enlist them in your army to slay the dragon. Your kids will quickly follow.

6. Tune off the TV.

The television is easy entertainment. It’s pleasing and doesn’t require any work on your child’s part. As the stories are laid out, each character and plot become more predictable and less imaginative. Switch off the TV and (if you can) hide it in a cabinet. TV has its uses, but it shouldn’t be the primary mode of entertainment for young minds.

7. Invite other children to play time.

Your children will, over time, fall into patterns when they play with each other. One is the hero, the other is the sidekick. One is the good guy, the other is the bad guy. These routines don’t give them a chance to explore other perspectives and build empathy. By tossing some kids into the mix, you shake up their routine and get their brains working. Don’t schedule arts and crafts or plan out the activities, just let play time happen.

baby play matGuest Blog by Jennifer Jacobellis, founder of Baby J

Jennifer Jacobellis started Baby J when her son was just a few months old. She ventured out to mommy and me classes and play groups, armed with just a blanket for him to lie on. After class, she would fold up her blanket and stick it in the diaper bag, knowing that when she got home it would have to go straight into the laundry basket. There had to be a better way!

One day she decided it was time to solve this problem. She ran to the fabric store and began tinkering. She designed this baby play mat with her germ-a-phobe tendencies in mind, as well as being soft, baby friendly, and chic. The Baby J play mat was born!

For more information, visit www.babyj.com

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann via Compfight cc

The Importance of Creative Play and the Magic of Make Believe

importance of creative play“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” This quote by Carl Sagan emphasizes the importance of the use of imagination, and this holds especially true for children. Encouraging your kids to engage in “creative play” is not only crucial to the learning process, but it will set the foundation for innovative thinking as they grow older. Here are a few ideas to inspire creative thinking with your child:

Disney World

Walt Disney World is the epitome of imagination in every way possible. Ranging from its vast array of fictional cartoon characters to the seemingly, never-ending theme parks, made up of attractions you could only think of in dreams. Disney is the perfect place for a child to begin the creative process and start to develop a mind full of great ideas. Also, finding a place for your family to be together during this trip is even more effective! Try to find the best Florida vacation home rental deals to make this all possible.

Build Stuff

It can be as small as wooden blocks and LEGOs, or as big as a makeshift fort or treehouse; the benefits of teaching your child how to build different structures are extremely valuable to their development. A child learning that a tower of blocks collapses without necessary support helps children develop spatial skills. Piecing together a toy part by part to build different items improves hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Playing with construction toys is important to a kid’s cognitive thinking skills. It may seem like it’s all a game to your child, but they are taking away a lot more from these activities.

Cooking with Kids

Has your child ever asked you where all their great-tasting food is coming from? Instead of simply telling them how you made it, show them! Cooking with your kid is not only valuable family bonding time, but it serves as a helpful learning tool for their growing minds. Cooking involves a bunch of different hidden math skills including, fractions (1/2 cup of milk), temperatures (boiling points), and even geometry (12 x 8 pan). Also, since cooking usually involves recipes, your children will develop their reading skills and get better at following directions. Finally, once a dish is successfully prepared, your child will get a self esteem boost for being able to cook their own food!

Florida vacation home rentals

Guest Blog by Steve Casey of Florida Sunshine Vacation Rentals

Look no further for vacation home rentals near Disney in Florida! Florida Sunshine Vacation Rentals has thirty years experience providing guests with the best Florida dream vacation experiences possible, as well as a level of customer service that exceeds exceptions. They’re based in Orlando with a satellite office in the United Kingdom, so they know how to provide superior service to domestic and European guests.

Feel free to call upon their expert team to provide you with a smooth booking experience for your vacation rental home, condo, villa or townhouse in Orlando, Floridadiscount vacation home rentals, or other Florida destinations.

We will help you do all of the planning so you and yours can start making memories!

For more information visit www.floridasunshinevacationrentals.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Florida Sunshine Vacation Rentals? Send your topic idea to steve1@floridasunshinevacationrentals.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Florida Sunshine Vacation Rentals makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

6 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Development Through Play

boost development through playMany parents believe that before formal schooling begins, there isn’t much you can do to help your child develop. This isn’t true at all. Play time is just as important as school lessons – perhaps more so when you consider that most development occurs during the first few years. You can give your child a leg up by making that playtime as meaningful as possible. Here’s how:

1. Schedule creative play time.

Structured play (like arts and crafts, lessons, or reading) has its benefits and should certainly be a part of every child’s routine, but your kids also need time for creative, unhindered play. Let your child play whatever he likes in whatever manner he likes. Don’t constrict games because they don’t make sense to you. If he flies his truck through the air or lassos a horse with a sock, let him explore and experiment.

2. Introduce other children.

You don’t need to come up with a schedule of activities for that next play date. Plop both kids in a room full of toys and games and stay nearby. By two and a half, your kid is developed enough to play with other kids, not just alongside. That means they’ll take each other’s cues, play the same game together and interact in a healthy way.

3. Encourage dress up play.

Pretending to be someone else is an excellent way to build empathy, objective understanding, and social skills. It lets them explore attitudes and behaviors, and give their imaginations a workout. Include some dress up costumes in the play room that your kids can easily access. Don’t discourage your child from using ordinary items as costumes (like a pot for a racecar helmet).

4. Switch off the TV.

The TV has its place and I’m not saying it’s bad for kids, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of development benefits. It’s an easy form of entertainment that doesn’t require much brain activity. It’s better to let your kids play pretend or toy cars or read than zone out in front of the TV. If you can, put your TV in a closeable cabinet so it’s out of sight.

I understand, however, that there are some great programs for kids that you should take advantage of, and sometimes you just need something to occupy your child while you take a quick shower.

5. Rotate some toys out of the playroom.

Interestingly, children can be overwhelmed by too many toys. If you have a generous family, your playroom might be filled to the roof. When your child has too many toys, he doesn’t fully experiment with each. Instead, he tends to play with the toy in the manner it was intended, which doesn’t work out his imaginative muscle. Store some toys in the attic or basement, and every so often switch them around.

6. Play somewhere else.

Eventually, your home will become unstimulating to your child. The blue carpet won’t be a river, it’s just carpet now. The bathroom isn’t an alien planet any longer; too many baths have ruined that room’s fun. Take your kids and a few toys one day and just change the scenery. Take them to a friend’s house, a play center, or simply outside.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

3 Do-It-Yourself Sensory Toys for Babies

do it yourself sensory toysPlay is an important part of learning for babies, so it’s important that we (as parents) do everything we can to make that play time as meaningful as possible. Babies learn by watching and interacting with their environment. By offering sensory toys, we foster learning through discovering and experimentation.

You don’t need an expensive DVD set to teach your baby. You need something he or she can hold on to, manipulate, and change. Below are three sensory toys you can create a home, probably using items you already have.

Water Sensory Mat

Babies and toddlers get a thrill out of water sensory mats. Water mats teach hand-eye coordination and teach cause-and-effect. You can buy water mats at the toy store, even ones that baby can sit on for lots of movement, but it’s simple to make as well. Your kid will get a kick out of batting the objects around inside and manipulating the bag to move the contents around.

Fill the largest Ziploc bag you can get your hands on with water and some small objects that won’t break through the plastic, like glitter, confetti, paper cutouts, and even small toys. For the sake of tidiness, I like to add some duct tape around the bag’s seal just in case my son accidentally opens it.

Sensory Water Bottles

Water is involved in a lot of sensory toys because it creates all sorts of movement. Fill some used, cleaned water bottles with random items. Use anything that will make a great visual effect once the bottle is full of water. Pick items with lots of color. You could use glitter, marble, beads, buttons, paper clips, small toys, bouncy balls, pipe cleaners, googley eyes, coins, etc. Fill the bottle with water and glue the top down so it doesn’t spill. Your baby will love spinning around the bottle and watching the contents swirl.

Baby Bean Bags

Bean bags are fun because they have an interesting textural element. Babies can touch, manipulate and throw the bags. They have different properties and move differently than a typical ball. Use them to play catch without fear they will break anything or hurt anyone.

Using fabric (any kind will do, whatever is cheap at your local craft store), cut rectangular strips. Fold them in half (so one of the four sides of the bean bag is the crease). Sew the two sides adjacent to the crease so the top is open for stuffing. Turn the bag inside out (sewing 101 here!) and fill fil rice, pellets, or dried beans. (I like rice: it’s super cheap and has a soft, crumbly feel). Sew the remaining side good and tight so nothing spills.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Ways to Encourage Sensory Play

sensory play ideasPeople learn best when their senses are involved. After all, our senses are a key component of memory (can you think of a memory without a vision, taste, feeling, sound, or smell?).

Sensory play is any activity that stimulates your child’s senses. When their senses are aroused, they use scientific methods to discover, learn, and grow their brains. While active lessons (like piano lessons or karate classes) have their own uses, a big part of early development comes from creative play and free exploring.

To help them better understand their world, we want to give them play opportunities that stimulate their sense of touch, sight, smell, hearing, and even taste. Here are a few ideas to encourage sensory play, but don’t stop here! You’ll find many examples all over the web.

Jell-O Finger Paints

These easy-to-make finger paints are non-toxic and safe to eat. Basically you’ll make watered-down Jell-O that can be spread all over and cleaned up easily. If you make several flavors, you’ll fill the room with lovely fruit smells, too. Offer your child brushes or encourage him to use his fingers. Don’t worry if he spreads it all over; that’s part of the fun.

Click here for a recipe.

Quicksand

Using cornstarch and water, you can create your own quicksand! Quicksand is simply sand that has been infused with so much water than it behaves like a liquid. You can make quicksand in a bucket or tray, or fill a small kiddie pool (but monitor your children while they play). Let them slosh, splash and construct with the odd substance.

Click here for a recipe.

Play Dough

Play Dough is fun, but you never seem to have enough to make anything big. Fortunately, it’s easy to make at home out of water, flour, and salt. Create a generous amount of several different colors and encourage your kids to build anything they like. Show them how to stick it together to make colorful objects.

Click here for a recipe.

Sensory Tub

A sensory tub is a simple ideas designed to give your child a plethora of options. In a plastic tub or bin, include a variety of objects. Some parents like to center the objects on a theme that the child likes so he or she will be inclined to explore. Your child will find the different textures and colors appealing, develop his/her fine motor skills, and play creatively.

Click here for a recipe.

Sensory Bath

Similar to the sensory tub, the sensory bath incorporates a variety of items, but in water. Fill your tub with a few inches of water and add a variety of objects that your child wouldn’t normally come in contact with, like filled water balloons or small rocks. Let her play with these items and interact with the water.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.