Toys are a kid’s best friends. They entertain him and give him hours of fun and enjoyment. They educate him by introducing him to the world around him and by engaging him in mind enriching activities that hone his imagination, motor skills, hand to eye coordination among many others. Toys especially the educational ones indeed play an important role in your kid’s developmental progress.
But even so, toys can never take the place of parents. Toys can never be substitutes for the love, care and attention that only parents and dedicated caregivers can give. That is why, even though you provide your kid with abundant educational toys, it is still very important that you’re there to play with him, guide him and support him during his playtime adventures.
Here are some ways on how you can make playtime a fun bonding time for you and your kid.
1. Create games that are educational for your kid and fun for the both of you. For example, Simon says, an amusing game that will give your kid the opportunity to mimic what adults do in the real world (talk on the phone, sweep the floor), improve his physical skills (jump, run or dance) and enable him to gain a better sense of spatial relations. Create a variation of this game by allowing your kid to take the role of Simon after a while and you will have to imitate his actions. This will not only give him elementary leadership skills but will also surely elicit fits of laughter from both of you.
2. Engage him in mind enriching activities wherein you can participate and guide him. Assembling jigsaw puzzles are fun for any kid especially if he’s putting together pieces of his favourite cartoon character. This is also an excellent mind stimulating activity where his visual discrimination, spatial and fine motor skills are being honed. Help him learn about shapes and sizes by guiding him with his puzzle solving adventures. Just be sure that you’re patient enough and that you give your kid ample time to figure the puzzle out by himself with only minimal supervision from you. If you put together the entire puzzle for him, it defeats the learning purpose of the activity.
3. Give him mind stimulating toys that you can join him in playing. Building toys are great for parent child bonding. Wooden train sets like the Wooden 120 Piece Train Set in a Tub for example will engage you and your kid in hours of building fun. Create communities by constructing buildings, bridges, and trains. Toys like these are terrific in inciting your kid’s creativity and imagination.
4. Interact with your kid as you play. One of the things that toys will not be able to provide your kid is human interaction. That is why it is imperative that you shower your kid with opportunities for parent-child conversations. Talk about anything under the sun, talk to him about your day at work or about how things work while you stack blocks or play with his puppets. Ask him to tell you about his day in pre-school, about the new friends he’s met or make him ask you about things he wants to know about.
5. Be supportive with your kid. At this stage where his imagination is very active, you’ll find him busy in his imaginative pretend plays where he pretends to be a superhero or a fairytale prince. He’ll also likely to have a lot of make-believe stories that he will tell you about like his adventures in outer space. Never discourage him from doing these activities or dismiss his stories as nonsense for these will inhibit the growth of his imagination. Instead, encourage pretend plays by allowing him to live in his fantasy world, and listen and be interested to the stories he has to tell.
Being a parent is never an easy task with all the responsibilities and pressures that come with it. But having a child is one of the greatest rewards you can have in your lifetime and you should enjoy every moment with it by spending time with your beloved little one.