'Play is our brain's favourite way of learning.'
Time for Play
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.
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 : )
Space Saving Crafty Decor
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!!!
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
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.
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.