One of the things I’ve learned as a Let’s Play Ambassador this year is sometimes play takes planning. Parents and kids lead busy lives. Therefore, we need to become more intentional regarding play.
Now that the holidays are here and our days are filled with parties, shopping, cooking and hosting others, we must make sure, among the hustle and bustle, that our kids get plenty of time to relax and be playful. One way to encourage this is through the gifts we give our children this year. Consider providing gifts of experiences, rather than things. And give gifts that encourage creativity and active play.
Here are five gift suggestions for kids that promote playtime:
1. Buy a backyard Badminton set for a perfect gift. It’s easy to set up and the rules are fairly simple. Even little ones can play. This gift is perfect for families who live in warmer winter climates and can still play outdoors.
2. For those living in frosty winter places, give kids Kinetic (indoor) sand for fun and easy-to-clean up playtime during the chilly winter months. Most sets come with sand castle building toys to help you shape the sand. Maybe you and your kids can even pretend you’re toasty warm at the beach while icy winds whistle just outside your door.
3. Few things encourage the imagination like a dress up trunk. Fill a trunk with various dress up clothes for kids (and parents!) you find at local stores and put on a play or let your kids create a funny scene. Or you can create your own special dress up trunk by selecting whimsical pieces of clothing from your local thrift shop or even from your own closet. A dress up trunk close at hand this winter will keep kids playing for hours at a time.
4. Give the gift of gardening. Give kids seeds, pots and soil and show them how to start either indoor or outdoor gardens. This gift keeps giving as the plants grow throughout the season. Kids love watching the flowers, vegetables or herbs they’ve planted grow bigger and bigger each day. Bonus experience: teach your kids to cook with the herbs they’ve grown!
5. A family membership to a nearby children’s museum, zoo, art museum or botanical garden provides a full year of playtime and experiences the whole family can enjoy together. Most museums, zoos and gardens host events for families throughout the year, and hands-on activities are usually part of the fun. Annual memberships can provide your family with memorable, creative experiences all year long.
Happy holidays and keep playing together, y’all!
Colleen Pence is a Play Ambassador for Let’s Play.