I was an online mom for quite some time. By online mom, I meant that my first born enjoyed her first 3 years of her life with grandmother. I was supervising from afar, mostly through her everyday pictures posted in the internet, which I required by family back home to do, each and every day. Most of my daily comments in the pictures are being addressed, God bless the heart of my mother! Hence, I felt that I have a contribution to her growing up years. Boy, I was too wrong. Now that I am hands on mom – it doesn’t work like that. (duh!)
I also used to think that since I buy a lot of toys for my children, that they will automatically use and play with the toys. It used to feel so good buying toys, especially the expensive ones. Being able to afford expensive toys used to make me feel like a good mom! Toinks! I was sooo wrong again. Now that I am a hands on mom – I know for sure that it doesn’t work like that. We can fill up every room at house with toys and yet have children at home bored to death and unloved.
My theory now is this: The more toys we buy for our children, the more responsibility we have to make sure that the kids learn values from these toys! I had to underline and write that in bold letters as a reminder to myself and to all parents (especially mothers!) like me. It is not wrong to buy toys for our children. It would be a waste of research of the growing toy industry if it is wrong! But the more important thing, I believe, is that we will be there as parents to make our children appreciate the toys we buy for them.
Have you tried playing toys with your kids recently?!
Here are some of the toys and toy alternatives which I have managed to figure out the first couple of weeks that I am a full time hands on mom.
1. Water. At most times, the best toys are free! Water is not only the universal solvent but the best toy ever. It's great for sensory activities and for strengthening their motor skills. If only the kids could spend all day in the shower or their bath (and they would absolutely love it!), life would be easier for parents!
Playing in water can improve child's long term physical and mental health. This is so true that all pre-schools and nurseries have water playtime everyday. So why pay these institutions tuitions? Just let the kids hang out in the bathroom!
|at 8th month, Kylie's main activity is water play - and I had to play tuition for this!|
|At preschool, an international school, again water play!|
2. Keys. When Kerim was almost a toddler ( a he's now almost a preschooler, oh boy!), he absolutely love to play with any set of keys. He is usually almost running around the house
and then to the door attempting to reach the key hole and open the door.
It is way better than rattle toys. It helps to improve his reflex control and hand-eye coordination. Plus there's always someone we can ask where the keys are. He always knows where he put it last.
3. Playmates. It is so amazing to see how kids could enjoy playgroups even without toys. All they need are each other and any make believe toys in the form of furniture and anything they could find. Oh what joy to see them laugh and act so carefree around each other.
|Kids playing horse rides using the stools.|
I believe that toys and play areas can create an alternative secure environment for children to learn through play. Emphasis on the world alternative. The most important environment for children to learn is the actual simulating of a secure environment - our reality. This includes our family environment and how we socialize.
It is a challenging role for parents indeed, that is, providing a conducive environment for the children. Much more than any toys could provide. I hope we are up for this challenge.