At home again – How to support individual playing?

We have talked about the fact that being able to play individually is crucial to the optimal development of the children. On the one hand it is a chance to develop; on the other this offers you the opportunity and time to work more or less undisturbed. We in the Forest Tale Daycare also support individual playing by offering toys based on the age-groups, skills and interests of the kids. Let us recommend you some games and toys that have worked in our practice and everyone can find joy by playing with them.

As a general rule we can say that safe surrounding, and toys that are in reachable high and distance help kids to choose toys individually; and the possibility of choice supports interest and motivation.

Toys for babies

As parents we tend to see everywhere the adverts of colorfully flashing, shining, singing, shrilling, waving toys. The materials are synthetic, and they have maximum two functions: flashing and playing music after pushing a button. At first the newly experienced stimuli (storm) might be interesting but it soon gets boring and indifferent for the little ones. These toys do not support the optimal development, kids will easily get used to the too many stimuli and they will need more and more stimuli in their everyday life; they will not be absorbed in simple toys anymore.

Simplicity, environment consciousness and recycling are key factors for us. The simpler an object is, the more functions it can get, the more possibilities it holds.

  • The different colorful and patterned play mats are interesting for babies of their own. We can put colorful and soft cubes, baby teethers, textile balls, baby books and kerchiefs of different size and materials around the babies within a reachable distance and this will keep them busy for a long time. If you can sew, you can add little windows, labels, bells or unbreakable safe baby mirror to the play mat.
  • With a little more time and creativity popular quiet books can also be made (educational baby books). These books are hand-made and there are different activities on each site which develop eye-hand and two hands coordination, support cognitive development. You can sew buttons, ribbons, and different shapes using velcro. There are so many variations you can try. Create it according to the abilities, skills and interest of your children and later you can complete it to be more difficult.
  • Another interesting toy could be plastic ziplock bags filled with different small objects and fixed onto the floor. Put more bags next to each other and put balls, buttons or straws into them. It can be also exciting if you put sparkling powder or paint into jelly. To reach the bags kids need to move so they will be motivated to crawl.
  • Use PET bottles (0.5 l) and put some colorful small buttons, POM-POMs, smaller-bigger pebbles, crops into them – these will keep the kids occupied for a long time. Listening to and looking at the bottles will impress them for a long time and since they need to reach them, they will be motivated to move.

Toys for little children

  • Construction toys are always interesting for kids. If we let them build from different objects we won’t need anymore, it will be even more exciting. Empty tea boxes, juice or milk bottles, cleaned yoghurt cups are perfect to build from. Children can paint these new toys with colorful patterns beforehand.
  • Let’s put velcro at both ends of spatulas and kids can create several shapes and solid figures. You can also draw onto the spatulas so it has even more possibilities to keep kids occupied.
  • Stick big packing paper or plain wallpaper onto the floor and kids can draw all day long. Drawing on a big surface supports big movements starting from the shoulders and this supports the development of fine-motor skills.
  • Almost every household has muffin baking pans. This might be a useful tool for sorting toys according to different colors, shapes, types; kids can also collect crops, balls, bric-a-brac. Let our kids sort these according to their own rules.
  • We can create a fun and exciting toy by sticking toilet paper or paper towel rolls under each other on the wall or on the wardrobe in the shape of an X or a Z. Children should be able to reach the top roll and they can throw different rolling objects into them, and they can see the route of these objects. They can try it with colorful little balls, or with toy cars or small toys. Beforehand we can put these small toys into a bowl so kids will feel like collecting them, too.

Kids can be happy about every new idea, they like being occupied with unknown, simple objects. Let them explore, find new toys and games and trust them, look at them as partners.

Rita Kőszegi – Forest Tale Daycare

This article is translated by Emese Murin.
Click here for the Hungarian version.