Play is of vital importance when it comes to your child’s learning. As parents we should never underestimate this, therefor your child’s desire to play should not just be left to chance. Lets look at seven ways we can improve this together.
Most of us don't really stop to consider that, how we organize our home environment, and what items we place in it, can effect our children’s play behavior.
A child’s environment plays a big part in determining a child’s desire to engage in play. Children often need to be stimulated into playing which is why parents should consider the quality of their child’s surroundings.
Its possible that if your home is not so stimulating, there is a chance that it may negatively affect your child’s behavior. Bored children often find ways of getting into trouble!
A stimulating environment can provide many opportunities and different ways to have fun, so here are seven ways to make that happen.
1) Select Appropriate Toys. When providing toys for children’s play they should be of the type that encourage your child to be creative, to be constructive and to encourage the discovery of new and ongoing possibilities. Toys like construction blocks are particularly successful at this and they also promote feelings of successful completion. Getting toys which are easy to fix and maintain is also a good idea however when providing toys and other items to very young children don't overlook the possibility of choking hazards. Check that small parts are not likely the size and type that can be put in a child’s mouth and swallowed. If you have children of a close age, sharing disputes can be avoided with a few similar toys of the same type (two tricycles for example.) Also, when buying kids games or toys parents and grandparents really need to consider age appropriateness and skill level. Some kids may need more challenging toys and games to prevent boredom while younger kids may need toys which are not overly difficult and therefor frustrating.
2) Rotate Your Childs Toys. A great tip to keep your children’s play interesting is to remove some of their toys. Separate all of them into thirds (3 groups) and then give your child access to one third of them. By rotating your child’s toys every three months you will keep your child’s interest in them active. Remember, the best toys to buy your kids are often of the type that don't require your supervision.
3) Appropriate Home Design. OK, I know that most of us don't have a choice, but if you are in the process of moving or buying a new house then consider a design that does not have a hall way which will encourage running, as this can be an enticing form of over stimulation for many young children. Also you may decide to live a little further out from the city center where you can afford a block big enough for a small yard. The best part of children’s play often involves a little dirt! Kids love to get dirty and having space for a small vegetable garden to care for will also widen their understanding of the world around them.
4) Appropriate bedroom Design. To create a calm bedroom environment try Googling “Calm Colors” and then pick two compatible colors to decorate your child’s bedroom walls with. Add a poster or two that is calming and inspiring. Autumn trees and mountain views are great for this. To help your child get organized you can also label bedroom draws and shelves in such a way that they can understand them. Get you child to draw picture labels (and add words) so that they are able to clean up on their own. Also try and balance out you child’s bedroom in terms of materials. If the floor is hard try adding some wall hangings or provide floor rugs and cushions to make it more appealing.
5) Avoid a cluttered home. Yes, I hear you! This may be the hardest of all to comply with. Most Japanese homes are small and many don't have adequate storage space. One way to deal with this is to build shelving on the walls. You need to consider the possibility of earthquakes here, so fixtures need to be permanent. At the very least don't place heavy objects on them which could fall on your child. Here is where the Grandparents come in handy. Most of them are trying to get rid of stuff as they get older so you might have to brush up on your powers of persuasion, but if you can, convince them to take some of your larger, not so used items, then you will be creating a better play environment.
6) Home Made Kids Games are the Best. In the world of children’s play the internet provides a wealth of Kids Games that you can make and do at home. Start collecting reusable household items such as milk and Juice cartons, cling wrap tubes, egg cartons and toilet rolls etc and get creative with your child. Together you can have so much fun, especially if you extend a project by painting it. Collecting a range of non toxic paint will also mean that you are always prepared when your child is ready.
7) Recycling has infinite possibilities. Its not just household items that are worth collecting. Many wood companies around local Tokyo areas have free scrap boxes out on their verge. Young boys and girls can make a great variety of creative items at home with the many shapes and sizes of wood pieces available. Also local markets, such as those found at Koganei Park in Musashino, can also offer a huge variety of cheap secondhand resources for your child to play with.
Remember when it comes to fostering children’s play there are often many things that we can do to encourage our child to play, grow and learn. Stay tuned to this blog for future tips on this important topic!