In case you haven't noticed, kids LOVE to play! But in today's world of easily accessible electronic games and kids content on television, it can sometimes be a little bit of a challenge to get kids to do more than passively interact with a phone, game console or TV screen. And while there's certainly nothing wrong with kids spending a little time watching a program or playing an electronic game, there's many ways that kids learn social skills and other valuable developmental building blocks (such as critical thinking, problem solving and verbal skills) through playing and interacting with the world around them. Following are three tips on encouraging positive development in children through your creative play!
1. Art, Drama and Music: Kids love being creative, and what better way to help facilitate this than by sharing this throughout their day. Give opportunities for your kids to create and make art by having supplies available for them to make things out of cardboard, construction paper - or even just drawing on a chalk-board or notepad. Also, plan to take a little time making a craft or drawing a picture with your children, which they're sure to love. Kids also love playing "pretend", which can be encouraged through a box of fanciful costumes and dress-up clothes, or a simple-to-make puppet stage with stuffed animals. Not only is this another great way for them to flex that creative muscle, but pretending with other children and adults can be a great way in helping kids with social skills! As for music, have a music night where you sit with your child and listen to a particular style of music. Some other creative play ideas might be to make available for your child some simple instruments (horns made out of tubes, or drums made out of empty containers) to play along with whatever music you're listening to.
2. Building and Books: Having a bookshelf of books just for kids is a great way to help them appreciate learning on their own. A family reading time, or visits to the library or book store (where they can pick out their own books) can also be a great way to encourage kids to enjoy learning on their own. Plus, many kids love finding books that help them learn how to make a kids crafts, draw a picture of a subject that interests them, or even build something amazing out of their favorite building toy! Plus, we've also seen kids enjoy using old hard-bound books (like older encyclopedias that you can find at garage sales) to build towers, roads and houses for their action figures or stuffed animals.
3. Positive Play when Out and About! Shopping trips don't have to be painful experiences for kids and parents alike. Use these occassions to invent fun kids games while shopping at the grocery store. For example, encourage kids to find products that all start with the letter "A", or see how many "green" items they can count. Also, kids might enjoy shopping trips a little more readily if they know that a fun stop at the local park might be included. And don't forget, many places of business love and cater to kids and their parents too - which can make running an errand not so much a chore - but a fun experience for all! For example, at Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids, we're more than just a hair salon - but a great place for kids to imagine and play too! Because at Shear Madness, every child matters! From our cool vehicle shaped chairs that allow children to engage in a little imaginative play through "driving" an awesome car or amazing airplane, to a great selection of cool toys and games that kids can take an up-close look at, we love being a unique place where kids and their parents can look and feel great about the time they've spent in our store! And don't forget - in addition to our fantastic haircuts and hair stylists that encourage and build kids up, we also have fun parties designed for play and positive social interaction, as well as a carefully hand-picked selection of hairbows, jewelry, hair products, educational toys and much more designed for helping kids feel great!
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