What is the power of play? Well, before you run out this holiday season and purchase every toy that has an electronic component to it, or if you already have, think about this. How will your child interact with this toy? Will your child be using their imagination to play with this toy, or will the toy be telling the child what to do? Will your child be creating different scenarios with this toy and using their own kidpower to play with it? Are they moving around with this toy, can they play physically with others when using it?
Remember when we were kids, mostly everything was not electronic, maybe wind-up but not all electronic. A simple drum made of wood and skin and something to bang on it with, may have been noisy but was able to transform your child into the leader of the band. A ball, can be thrown, caught and entertain an entire family physically, not just one person all on their own. Games can be created, books can be read and acted out. A board game involves not just your mind but the minds of others playing with you. You can talk when playing with basic toys and create and build. There is so much left to the imagination with a toy that is not electronic and that is so important to the growth and development of your child and your family.
Think of ways to create family time without the use of electronics. Play tag and other games in the back yard, play cards, go on walks, draw pictures and color. These are important development and social tools for your child, whereas so many electronic toys require children to simply sit by themselves as they play a game against or with a computer. Think how lonely that is all the time.
I have been to houses that only have electronics to entertain their children and then the parents wonder why the kids are always getting into other stuff. Kids need toys to play with and learn with. Physically, consistent use of electronics also can damage a child’s eyesight and their speech development can be affected. It does not have to be a computer in order to teach children valuable growing skills. Kids can count blocks as they stack them. Learn colors looking at things in their house and from their toys as well.
Play brings joy. And it’s vital for problem solving, creativity and relationships.
In his book Play, author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, compares play to oxygen. He writes, “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.” This might seem surprising until you consider everything that constitutes play. Play is art, books, movies, music, comedy, flirting and daydreaming, writes Dr. Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play.
Sure, there are exciting new technologies out there, but don’t downplay (for the use of a better word) the importance of basic play and going back to basics with the toys & activities you provide your child. You will empower them more than you know.
Wishing you & your family peace, love and laughter through the holiday season!