Time for Play!
Play is an essential part of helping to maintain our health and well-being.
Studies have shown how play helps improve memory, stimulating growth of the cerebral cortex, which is thought to play a key role in memory, attention, awareness, thought, perception, language and consciousness.
Furthermore, play has shown to release natural chemicals in our body called endorphins, which help improve brain functionality and stimulate creativity.
Despite the many benefits however, many families (adults and children alike), are becoming more and more dependent upon online games, movies, seasonal dramas and social media. Screen-gazing has started to fill the space, that play and social interaction (within the real world), had once occupied.
In schools and at home, adults often favour children sat quiet in front of a screen, over running wild around the home or in the classroom. As a child I was told on many occasions to 'grow up'. Perhaps those grown-ups wished I could skip childhood altogether and go straight to adulthood.
With such a heavily-weighted focus on being studious and passing exams, the value play has been seriously played down. However, with the growing number of children in desperate need of expert support, to help deal with anxiety, trauma, depression, obesity, self-harm and other distressing diseases and disorders, we as parents certainly need to make a stand and take action.
The Benefits of Play!
Play has taken a knocking over the years, as we become more and more risk adverse, some believing that play is can be dangerous and do more harm than good.
Playing a game of tennis online may seem far 'safer' than getting hit by a ball or pulling a hamstring whilst running for the ball on a real, live court. However, the benefits of play far outweigh the so-called risks.
The lock down in March 2020, certainly taught me a few things. Essentially, how much play and live social interaction is such a necessary part of our lives, our health and well-being. That without it, my kids and I would struggle, physically, mentally and emotionally.
I also learn that, I do not need to pay so many others to entertain my kids. Having spent much time, money and effort chauffeuring my kids to and from all sorts of clubs and activities, I now appreciate how much more we can do and enjoy together as a family.
I have created a Games page to help every family, with babies, toddlers, juniors, seniors, teens, right up to grandparents, rediscover the joys of play.
Just hit the link below.
NB: This list is not exhaustive, more ideas will be added throughout the year.
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.