Monday, October 29, 2012

Activity Can Be Educational For Children Too

When adults think of children's toys or activities which are educational they may have a tendency to think of children sitting quietly undertaking a task by themselves such as reading a book or playing with a jigsaw. In fact toys and activities which are viewed as good for a child's education and development are far more wide reaching than you might first imagine, and can include anything from helping you hang the washing out to charging about enjoying a noisy game of football! With today's media hype about childhood obesity never far from our screens, radios or newspapers the fact that activity can be educational and good for childhood development is one piece of news we can all welcome!

Get motoring
When a child is active they are essentially developing their Gross Motor skills, recognised as an important contributor to a child's overall development. These are the skills required to move the larger muscles in the arms, legs and body, for example to walk, run, throw, lift and kick. They relate to body awareness, a sense of co-ordination, reaction, speed, balance and strength. Traditional toys which help stimulate gross motor development include things like ride on toys, skipping ropes and bicycles for older children.

Get kids involved
The great news about encouraging kids to get active is that as busy parents trying to juggle many activities in your own lives, you can get the children involved alongside you rather than always separating play time and 'task' or 'job' time. No one is disputing that one on one focused play time with a parent or carer is essential for a child's wellbeing and development but it's good to know there are ways you can successfully incorporate playing with your child into your own daily routines so that you can get on with the job in hand while your child develops, learns and is active alongside you.

Get on ... together
How many times have you told the kids to 'go off and play' while you get on with the chores, such as preparing dinner, a spot of DIY or tackling the ironing bin? Instead, how about getting your child their own toy ironing board and iron and chatting to them as you 'iron' together, or their own toolkit so they can feel like they are helping you build that chest of drawers / hang that curtain rail up? Children just love mimicking activities undertaken by their older role models and you can really bond with a child in this way as well as teach them as you go. Show them how you press the clothes carefully, then hang them up to look after them so that they begin to learn important lessons such as respect for belongings. Help them overcome the frustration they will undoubtedly experience when trying to build something explaining that it's important not to give up but to keep calm and try again. And share the excitement and sense of achievement when they do complete the task in hand.

Get them involved in your hobbies too - if you love being outside in the garden encourage them to be involved. There are plenty of children's gardening toolkits on the market which can also double up for some fun in the sandpit. Sometimes it's not the children's imagination that needs stimulating, it's our own creative outlook on how to approach things! So go on, get active, get them involved and have some fun with the kids!