Friday 24 May 2013

How do you Make Time To Play?

Making time to play is important for any family but for us I find it even more significant because the time we get to spend together is so limited. As working parents we are out of the house from dawn till dusk most days and both the children spend weekdays in childcare. We only have the weekends and around an hour a day during the week so I try to make the most of it.

Play does not have to be heavily planned or involve expensive props or toys. Anything from a tea party with imaginary friends to playing catch in the playground, building with some bricks or going on a nature walk in the local park will help to build your child's confidence, develop their social skills and help them understand the world around them.

I love impromptu play with my children, when we are walking home from nursery my 5 year will start to tell his sister a silly made up story about a trip to the moon or his job as a train driver or we'll play eye spy or a shopping game. We can quite often be found walking down the street in fits of giggles listing the things we bought from the shops! As well as a fun way to pass the time on our daily walks I believe this has helped to develop my daughters language and communication skills. At two and a half she is a little chatterbox and it's often observed that her language is very mature for her age.

I make time to play because I feel it is an important part of my children's development and it's also lots of fun!
Launched in 2010 by the British Toy and Hobby Association, Make Time 2 Play aims to promote to parents the many benefits that play has for the healthy development of children. 

So why is play so important?

Dr Gummer explains why play is so important for kids and not just a reward or a waste of time...

In the past, little thought was given to the importance of play and how it contributed to the developing child, so it is natural that some parents see it as simply a fun activity, a reward, or even a waste of time.

However, the government, teachers and Ofsted have all realised that play helps children learn.  Incorporating fun themes to children’s learning makes the experience more memorable for them and also less daunting so they will be more likely to do it again – bingo, they’re learning!

Think about your own childhood… Did sitting writing under the instruction of a teacher help you prepare for adulthood, or was it the real-life experiences where they developed new skills and understanding?

Did reading a parenting book prepare you for changing their child’s nappy perfectly, or was it through the trial and error of practical application?

There is a difference between helping a child to learn and pushing a child to learn. Books such as “Einstein Never Used Flash Cards…” explain how children who are pressured early on do not fare any better than children who are allowed to take their time.

The advice is simple: children learn best through simple playtime which enhances problem solving skills, attention span, social development and creativity.

When it comes to play, what’s most important are the social skills children learn. Relationships are the bedrock of society and children who play develop mutually rewarding relationships learn to compromise, communicate and negotiate, all of which give them much better outlooks for future careers and mental health.

The mistake that many people make is to believe that because you don’t always know what the child is going to learn through play, they’re not learning anything.

Even the most frivolous activity is beneficial for children as it helps them understand themselves better – learning what makes you happy and what makes you laugh helps children cope with challenges and acts as a buffer against mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

So remember – play is vital to a child’s healthy development and not just something to be done as a reward or an afterthought.  

The Make Time 2 Play campaign uses many channels to get the message across to parents ad children with @maketime2play on twitter, Facebook and a website 

They now also have a new play app full of free play ideas for parents to fit into their children’s’ day

If want to find out more then you can take a look on the website by clicking on the below badge....

I'd love you to comment tell me your quick and easy play ideas... 

How do YOU make time to play?


  1. I think it's really tricky, andsometimes you really have to build in that time for your own sanity as well as your children's. Play is good for all of us :)

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