Time for Play!
'Play is our brain's favourite way of learning.'
Play is an essential part of helping to maintain our health and well-being.
Studies have shown how play helps:
As a child (many, many, many years ago), I was very much a daydreamer and loved to play. However, I was often told to 'grow up' and concentrate on my books. Nowadays kids are encouraged to pick up a tablet or kindle as more and more families are becoming dependent upon, what I call 'screen-gazing' (i.e. playing online games or watching movies, seasonal dramas and all other social media) to fill their precious time and space.
Children and adults alike, can spend hours, screen-gazing, not only at home, but out in public too, including parks! Places of learning and education seem no better. Having worked in many school, the mantra is the same everywhere - children are told repeatedly to sit quiet whilst many lessons are taught on a screen using white boards and personal IPads.
The rise in screen-gazing and the rise in the number of childhood illness should not be ignored. More and more studies show the link between our lifestyle and our well-being. Thus, many medical practitioners are beginning to open their eyes and look at other ways, which include play and exercise, to help children deal with anxiety, trauma, depression, obesity, self-harm and other distressing diseases and disorders.
The Benefits of Play!
Play has certainly taken a knocking over the years, some believing that play is can be dangerous and do more harm than good.
The thought of kids running around, wild at home or in the classroom, will probably send chills down the spine of many adults who live or work with kids. Perhaps as a society we have become less tolerant and more risk adverse, always having to assess and weigh up every possibility before allowing a child to venture out.
Teachers in schools have to wade through paperwork as thick as my thighs before visiting a local library. As a consequence, a decline in lessons being taught outside the classroom, has dropped considerably in recent years.
When virtual games first came out, I scoffed at the thought of anyone wanting to play an online game over the real thing. Now, kids spend hours on a virtual pitch, rather than a real one. Perhaps, playing a game of football online may seem far easier and 'safer' than getting hit by a ball or pulling a hamstring whilst running for an actual one.
However, the benefits of engaging in real-life. actual play far outweigh the so-called risks. The lock-down in March 2020, certainly taught me a few things. Essentially, how much real-life play and social interaction is such a necessary part of our daily lives and that without it, our physical, mental and emotional health and well-being would have suffered.
Furthermore, having spent much time, money and effort chauffeuring my kids to and from all sorts of clubs and activities,I also learnt that I did not need to pay out so much for someone else to entertain my kids. We learnt to become more self-reliant and resourceful, coming up with our own games and ideas. It is amazing just how many games can be adapted for three players.
We also discovered that the simplest of things, such as going on playful walks and teaching ourselves new tricks and skills were far more enjoyable and less hassle-free.
As a result of our experiences over the lock-down, I felt compelled to create a Games for Everyone! page, to help families rediscover the joys of playing together. The list is certainly not exhaustive and more ideas will be added throughout the year. ENJOY : )
Now the kids are spending much more time at home, there's going to be a lot more clutter around the place!
Space will be premium!
So, Kiddirama has come up with some great space saving ideas that can help tidy some of that clutter away e.g. under bed, on a shelf, inside or on top of a cupboard. Simply follow the steps to guide you...
No doubt, your creations will look amazing wherever you find space to put them! And after your success at making one box, I am sure you will be keen to do more and more. Happy Crafting!!!
Space Saving Crafty Decor
Step 1. Decide where you are going to store your box. The size of the box will need to fit into the space i.e. whether it will slide under a bed, fit into a shelf or sit on top of a cupboard.
Step 2. Source your material. See ‘Sourcing Arts & Craft Materials’ for ideas. Supermarkets are usually happy to give away any empty sizable boxes and packaging.
Step 3. If you need your box to be hard wearing, reinforce it either with a thick strong tape or even layer it like you would a paper mâché (there are plenty of websites that can show you how to make a paper mâché).
Step 4. Time to decorate. If your box will be seen or put-on display, source materials that will go with your surrounding décor. You might have some left-over paint or wallpaper from the last time you decorated. Perhaps design a themed box – if it is for storing shoes, you can do foot painting... Be as creative as you want to be, there are plenty of websites that can give you ideas. The more creative and colourful your box, the more it will brighten up your space.
Sourcing Art & Craft Materials
Step 1. First, you may want to create a storage box (*see ‘Space Saving Crafty Décor’) where you can store all your materials for art and crafting.
Step 2. Next, start collecting items you would normally recycle or throw away e.g. cereal boxes, egg boxes, yogurt pots, lid, plastic bottles, food containers, paper (incl. old letters and envelopes), bubble wrap, packaging, glass jars and bottles etc.
Step 3. Cut outs from old papers, flyers and magazines will have some fantastic images you can use, for free! Step 4. Visits to the seaside, I have always collected lots of seashells, which are great for decorating both inside and outside spaces.
Step 5. Old wellies, even old clothes that can be cut up and used as scrap are perfect crafting material.
Step 6. Supermarkets are usually happy to give away any large empty boxes and packaging, if you ask nicely.
Kiddirama's come up with some fabulous ideas in which you can save time, money and of course, our beloved environment. Using recycled items for your arts and craft projects are a must.
Simply look around your home and you will be amazed at what you can find. Recycled materials are often made with good lasting materials, perfect for any short or long-term project.
Hide and Seek
Such a classic, well-loved game the whole family can enjoy! Did you know, there are many different variations to this game. See below for ideas!!
Activity 1. If space is limited, or you are playing with a much younger child, choose an object (e.g. toy) to hide.
Activity 2.You can set a time limit to find the object/person. It really is a race against time and both kids and grown-ups seem to thrive under pressure.
Activity 3. If you have hidden an object that is tricky to find, the seeker(s) can be told if they are getting 'hot' i.e. if closer to the hidden object or 'cold' i.e. if they are moving further away.
Activity 4. If there are three or more players, why not hide several objects, for the seeker to find. If you fancy a more heart-racing, competitive activity, each seeker can try and find the most objects as quickly as possible, thus beating their opponent.
Activity 5. For older kids, playing hide and seek in the dark is such a thrill! To add a bit of drama, decide on a theme and dress up e.g. combat (wearing dark clothes and muddied faces), ninjas, Halloween costumes... If you have torches (or a light on your phone), the seeker can use the torch light to find the hidden persons/object.
Why pay to see a magic show, when you can recreate one at home.
Step 1. There are so many quick and easy YouTube videos that can teach you and your children some amazing tricks - but you/they will need to practice.
Step 2. Once ready, set a date for your show. Make/decorate a poster advertising the event.
Step 3. If you haven't got one, then why not make yourself a wand. You can decorate a pencil, or tightly roll up a piece of black card (or paint it black). And don't forget to add a white tip at the end - masking tape or white paper will do the trick!
Step 4. On the day, to add a bit of drama, dress up! Fancy dress or evening wear, anything to make the event feel very special.
Step 5. Then sit back and enjoy watching / performing your very first magic show!
The thought of getting your home smeared with mud, does not invite any parent/guardian to want to partake in anything that may cause potential damage. But can you really miss out on the fun you all will have?
To set up, make sure to lay down an old plastic mat, or tear open a couple of bin liners, sticking at least two or three together with tape, enough to cover the area you will be working on. At the end of play, these can be wiped down and reused time and time again.
Activity 1. To start, first collect some mud in an old bucket/bowl. You may need to add a little water to soften then get squeezing and squishing with your hands or feet till smooth! Who needs to buy slime or play dough when you can make your own mud-dough!!!
Activity 2. Have fun making lots of different figures and shapes and even some very silly noises. You can turn it into a game - guess the shape or animal.
Activity 3. You can even build your own mud house, adding some PVA glue (optional), then leave to dry. Once dry, decorate however you fancy.