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

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.