According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal, “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children.”
Recently, my daughter enjoys role playing. She learned that me as her “mama” can be her “horse.” Whenever she sees that I’m not busy with anything, she’d come to me and say, “Mama, horse.” She likes riding on my back and we’d walk around the house together. I treasure moments like this in my heart.
N’s typical day in the house is mostly about play. She likes playing with her toys — most especially balls, pegging games, cars, and blocks. She’s now showing interest in puzzles but I don’t allow her to open the ones we have at home since the pieces are still small for her. One of these days, I’ll try to find a puzzle that suits her age.
I also make it a point to have books within her reach. She likes reading Dr. Seuss’ ABC or Green Eggs and Ham, Frances, and her Nursery Rhymes. I do allow her to watch TV, in close supervision and moderation. She only gets to watch some of the TV shoes that I know she likes over Jim Jam, Nick or Disney Jr.
In a week or two, I see to it that she gets to play and interact with other kids so I bring her to Gymboree Play & Music in Robinson’s Magnolia Town Center, where she is a member. We also like joining and organizing play dates with the kids of The Mommy Avenue.
Play is not just about toys. Toy is not just about having fun. Fun doesn’t necessarily equate to learning. These 3 should all go hand-in-hand. I believe that play should serve both learning and fun. I believe that as parents, it is our responsibility to choose our kids’ toys carefully.
I’ve done a little research on some general guidelines that could help us in choosing toys for our kids. According to KidsHealth.org, we should keep these things in mind:
- Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Stuffed toys should be washable.
- Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint.
- Art materials should say nontoxic.
- Crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on the package, which means that they’ve been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
For Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
- Toys should be large enough – at least 1¼” (3 centimeters) in diameter and 2¼” (6 centimeters) in length – so that they can’t be swallowed or lodged in the windpipe. A small-parts tester, or choke tube, can determine if a toy is too small. These tubes are designed to be about the same diameter as a child’s windpipe. If an object fits inside the tube, then it’s too small for a young child. If you can’t find one of these products, a toilet paper roll can be used for the same purpose.
- Avoid marbles, coins, balls, and games with balls that are 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters) in diameter or less because they can become lodged in the throat above the windpipe and restrict breathing.
- Battery-operated toys should have battery cases that secure with screws so that kids cannot pry them open. Batteries and battery fluid pose serious risks, including choking, internal bleeding, and chemical burns.
- When checking a toy for a baby or toddler, make sure it’s unbreakable and strong enough to withstand chewing. Also, make sure it doesn’t have:
-sharp ends or small parts like eyes, wheels, or buttons that can be pulled loose.
-small ends that can extend into the back of the mouth.
-strings longer than 7 inches (18 centimeters).
-parts that could become pinch points for small fingers.
- Most riding toys can be used once a child is able to sit up well while unsupported – but check with the manufacturer’s recommendation. Riding toys like rocking horses and wagons should come with safety harnesses or straps and be stable and secure enough to prevent tipping.
- Stuffed animals and other toys that are sold or given away at carnivals, fairs, and in vending machines are not required to meet safety standards. Check carnival toys carefully for loose parts and sharp edges before giving them to your infant.
It is also important for us to teach our kids to be responsible in putting away their own toys after playing. I recommend having a storage box at home where your child could use as they pack their toys away.
I still have a lot to learn when it comes to my child’s development, and playing is just a facet of it. That is why I felt giddy when I learned the Carrie Lupoli, a renowned Parenting & Child Development consultant is coming to Manila this June 16th to facilitate a workshop called “The Joy of Learning.”
You might want to ask questions like, “Is there such a thing as overplay or giving too many toys to our kids?”
Here’s a DEAL:
In partnership with Fisher-Price, Carrie’s “The Joy of Learning” Manila leg will be on June 16, 2013 (Sunday), 9:00AM to 3:00PM at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Ortigas Center, Pasig City (beside Robinson’s Galleria). Tickets are sold for only P1,000 inclusive of snacks, lunch, goody bag and a chance to win great prizes in the raffle! (I think this amount is super worth it!)
I also recommend bringing your husbands/partners with you when you attend. It is also best to leave the kids at home with a trusted adult caregiver so we can focus more on learning from the workshop.
To register, please visit: http://richwell.net/fisherprice/ . If you’ve got other questions, please feel free to use the comment box below.
Wait! I’ve got GREAT news for my readers! 🙂 Fisher-Price, through this blog, is asking me to take 5 mommies or daddies with me in the workshop for FREE! Yes, not 1, not 2, but 5!! Weeee!
There are 2 ways in which you can win a pass for “The Joy of Learning” workshop:
- By just visiting bit.ly/thejoyoflearning and follow the mechanics found at the Rafflecopter widget. There will be 3 winners for this raffle.
- By just visiting facebook.com/moomymusings because I will be posting 2 trivia questions in random that has got to do with the workshop. The first person to answer the each trivia question correctly automatically wins the free pass! The question will be posted anytime from May 27 – June 14, 2013.
Good luck everyone and I’m looking forward to meeting my winners on The Joy of Learning workshop.
Fisher-Price’s Joy of Learning workshop is also made possible through the support of Gymboree Play & Music and The Learning Basket.
Let’s all learn together and support each other in this step of becoming the best parents to our children. 🙂