How often do you play with your little one? How do you play? do you play in your native language or the language from the country you live in? (in my case, Spanish is my native language but in the U.S. we speak mostly English).
Esta entrada esta disponible en: Español
Have you heard the saying “children learn through play”? well, they do and it is so important that we facilitate this learning. Here is the importance of play for infants and toddlers.
“Play is more than just fun for babies and children. It’s how they learn best, and how they work out who they are, how the world works and where they fit into it”.RaisingChildren.net.au
Importance of play for infants and toddlers: It is important that infants learn about the world around them by being curious and exploring through independent play, but it is equally important to play with them. I’m a fan of guided-play, where you lead the way, show and share how to explore the assigned activity.
Because I’m not in early childhood development I had to read a lot and learn through the mommy-and-me sensory classes I have taken Manny to see what type of activities we could do. Whatever we do on these classes I replicate at home, but sometimes I want something different.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am on a path to increase creativity at home by redesigning the playroom. Eliminating the plastic toys in which the game is in charge of how to play and not the imagination is in charge. As part of that development of creativity and exploration, I want to implement more guided play at home.
The great thing about social media is that you find amazing people. Through Instagram, I met Elisabeth, a mom just like you and me who thrives on creating organized play activities with her two daughters.
Elisabeth has a B.S. in psychology and actually has a background in the area of child development and she uses her knowledge to be able to create daily activities that we can all recreate at home. Most of these activities are great for toddlers and we can customize to babies younger than one. They use simple materials and are perfect for busy moms.
I reached out to Elisabeth Theforeignmom.com who recently developed a free downloadable ebook showcasing 8 different activities you could do at home (with stuff you probably already have) and asked to pick her brain and interview her. She kindly agreed and here is what she said.
Before I go ahead and share the interview I know what you are thinking. That you don’t have time to do guided play, that you are not creative, or that you don’t know what to do. Elisabeth brakes it down where there is little effort or thinking that needs to be put into it. Basically, she gives you step by step and sets you up for success. All you do is bond with your babies and enjoy the memory making activities.
Interview with Elisabeth from Theforeignmom.com
1. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself, your blog and why is play so important for children.
I was born and raised in Germany and moved to the US when I was 23-years-old. I worked as an Au Pair for a couple of years and then started university to study Psychology. During my studies, I added a minor in Art because I needed a creative outlet.
Next to college, I worked as a Refugee Caseworker for an international non-profit organization. Resettling Refugees from all around the globe. I focused on children and families during my studies and at work.
Then, I became pregnant with my oldest daughter, Charlotte, and stopped working as a Caseworker. At that point my husband and I were married for three years and just ready to have a family. We added another little girl, Penelope, to the family 23 months later.
The Foreign Mom Blog is my third baby. It is so very important to me! Being a mom is hard and being a foreign mom is even harder. Raising a family far away from home is difficult
But I have to be honest, I’m really bad at something that I call “free play.” I can’t just sit in our play area and play with car, dolls, or blocks all day long. I get so bored with it. My husband is very good at it! At least one of us is.
Creating fun activities that are educational is my thing. That’s what I love to do and that is how I connect with my children. I believe in guided play; introducing a topic, talking about it, and then exploring it. That’s how kids learn while having fun! Learning in a fun environment (home) with people they trust (parents) is absolutely beneficial to children!!
2. I read on your blog that you are raising two girls to be bilingual. How do you incorporate two languages at play and what can we do at home to help our children develop language skills in a bilingual home.
First of all, parents have to be on the same page when it comes to raising bilingual children. In our household, I speak German (during every activity), and my husband speaks English. I’m not worried about their English language skills. They are growing up in an English speaking country. My oldest is in an English-speaking preschool setting. This will not be an issue now or in the future.
I’m always worried about their German language skills. As I said, I’m doing all of our activities in German. The key here is to talk as much as possible! To point out new words and to ask lots of questions. When you do an activity with your children own it. Don’t let anything else distract you. Just be in the moment and talk! Make sure your children can always see your face when talking to them. Looking at their parents mouth helps them tremendously while learning languages.
Also, we read in German every day. And they only watch TV and listen to music in German. We have German play dates at least once a week with the German mom’s group I created. This helps a lot!
As you can see exposure is everything. One person alone cannot raise a bilingual child! Or so I was told by a professor who specializes in bilingual education.
Both of my kids will attend German school on Saturdays starting at three-years of age. I want to make sure they can read and write in German as well. I’m thankful for the resource. I’m a huge believer in support.
I just wanted to add that raising a bilingual child is hard work. It seems very natural to some, but it’s very difficult. It takes a lot of time and effort. But it is worth it. Please feel free to message me for more ideas and book recommendations, if needed.
3. I am redesigning playroom to encourage more creativity. What supplies do you recommend are must-haves for a playroom
Open-ended toys are my favorite thing in the world. When I do engage in “free play” I usually use open-ended toys. My 3yr old’s favorite toys are Melissa & Dough toys, especially the ice cream counter. This allows her to serve ice cream, to learn the different flavors, and to pay for them. I find this toy very educational and very helpful for our bilingual play. Also, I noticed that every child who has been to our house playing with the ice cream counter.
Also, I have a list of basic supplies for activities on my website. Please feel free to check it out. The art cart that I’m introducing on my blog as well has been a lifesaver for me.
When I had my second daughter I would go to the living room with my oldest to hang out while the baby slept. So, I simply moved the art cart (rolling) to the living room to do activities with her while the baby is sleeping. It doesn’t get easier than that.
Pro Tip: If your child tends to just get out all the toys without really playing with them try this… Create a simple set up with two activities. For instance, get out your paw patrol tower in the middle of the room and set up your play table with one or two puzzles. Now, invite your child to play. Getting out two different activities provides your child with a choice but it also sets a boundary.
4. If there was one advice for busy moms that work or that that don’t necessarily the time to set up elaborate play activities what would it be?
Download my free eBook “Everyday activities for kids of busy moms.” Also, I share lots of activities on a daily basis on my Instagram. The majority of activities I create can be set up in under 5 minutes. You don’t have to be alone with this. I got you!
Furthermore, my digital library (you can find on my blog) shares some fun worksheets for kids that you can simply print out and have your children work on. In case, you need to get some work or cooking done. We are busy moms after all.
But I want to give you one more tip. Print out a coloring page online (Crayola is great). Sit down with your kid and start coloring. There is a reason people create adult coloring books. It is very therapeutic. Again, just sit down, relax, and start coloring while talking to your child about his/her day. You and your child will love it!
5. We understand now the importance of play for infants and toddlers, I know you just release an eBook with activities for them. Can you tell us a little more about this ebook? Who is this for and what can they find.
Yes, the eBook mentioned above. It is a fun eBook that you can download for free on my blog. I wanted to create something for busy moms. I live in the DC area and let me tell you everyone around here is busy. I had lots of mom friends tell me how much they loved my blog and my Instagram and then told me in the same sentence that they don’t have time for that.
That broke my heart! And I needed to fix that.
Every mom deserves some fun with their children or a little break to get some stuff done. But yes, setting up activities can be time consuming. I wanted to fix that by creating this free eBook that is design to help moms set up fun activities in under 5 minutes. With supplies you can find at home.
The eBook includes activities for children ages 1-5 years old. Also, you will find lots of fine motor skill activities because children’s dexterity is important in order for them to draw and write. But even more importantly you will find activities that are fun.
We must focus on the importance of play for infants and toddlers and we must provide them with the tools needed to achieve this learning
Download the Free ebook: Everyday Activities For Children Of Busy Moms