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How to Make Creative Play Environments for Your Child

“It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.” –D.W. Winnicott, British pediatrician, 1896-1971

SIGE MOMS, are you looking for ideas on how to spice up your child’s playroom? Are you searching for ways on how to make his/her playtime more fun and exciting? Napapansin mo ba na paulit-ulit nalang ang mga laruan na pinaglalaruan ng anak mo? Or ang ayos ng iyong playroom ay walang pinagbago sa buong taon? This article will definitely help you infuse a lot of creativity into your child’s play.

Read on! There are numerous studies that show that children who spend time playing outdoors (in the playground, in the garden, in the park, or any open, green space) gain positive benefits to their physical, social, and mental wellbeing.

According to Cobb & Louv, “Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and the sense of wonder.” In addition to this, “play in outdoor environments stimulates all aspects of child development more readily than indoor environments” (Moore & Wong, 1997). To make your child’s playtime more creative, why not try including outdoor play experiences for him/her.

According to Planet Earth Play Scapes, there is a new movement now that are transforming the playgrounds into outdoor landscapes or playscapes. These new play environments use natural resources. Here are some ideas that you can do at home:

Use natural materials.

As opposed to the toys that you can readily purchase in the store, these natural play materials can easily be found in your home, garden. These natural play materials include water, sand, soil, leaves, smooth rocks, twigs.

You don’t need to spend a single centavo in order to get hold of these items. There are studies that will tell you that these unstructured materials such as water, sand and soil can contribute as well to your child’s ability to observe, to predict cause and effect, imagine their own creations and build their own creations as well. Using these earth materials, children can create their own art work and projects.

Set-up a water and sand play area.

It is best to have the water and sand play area outdoors. You can just use an old plastic storage box/bin and fill it out with these natural materials. Get as creative as you can in adding props and other items to these water and sand boxes. Check your garage, your attic, or unused items such as old household items (utensils, pans, funnel, rolling pin, cans, animal plastic toys,that children can use to make their play more diverse. Make sure these items are safe for children to use.

Make a small garden.

Grow a vegetable or flower garden in an area outside your home (if you have). You can place them in a small clay pot, where the children can observe it daily and track its progress. It will be a good opportunity to discuss basic science concepts on how to take care of plants.

Add benches and picnic tables to your play yard.

Place child-sized benches, tables in your play yards. These can be used as snack area, resting places, storybook reading/telling, and areas to socialize in.

Invite small animals into your play area.

Think of small animals that you can put in your play yard. Small animals such as birds, or a pet fish can be placed in the play area. Make sure they are properly stored in a cage, or house so as to make it safe for children when they are playing in that area.

Make soundscapes.

Add the element of sound into your play area. Bring in the chimes, musical instruments that you can hang on the tree, or up the window to produce that great sound as children play.

Involve your child.

Involve your child in designing your play area. Take them to a local park and read books about nature and the environment. Discuss how you can design and build structures like these into the play area. Let them be part of the construction, too.

SIGE MOMS, are you excited to try these ideas out with your child? Keep in mind that as you expose your child to natural and creative play environments, you are definitely providing opportunities for your child to develop powers of observation, and creativity and wonder. 

God Bless as you create your own playscapes.  

References:

Research on Nature, Children and Play: Compiled by Leon Smith (Planet Earth Playscapes, 2006) Planet Earth Playscapes, www.earthplay.net