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Alexander Residence: Have you forgotten how to play?

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Have you forgotten how to play?

Sometimes it's not easy to remember how to play is it? I often find myself in a rut, dragging out the same old toys and expecting my kids to get on with it, generally when I'm stressed.  Eventually something really captures my imagination or inspires me.  This week it's the IKEA Play Report.  I 'liked' the Play Report facebook page and have received some clever tips and insights into the magical world of play.

Ikea's Play Report is the largest ever global report into child development and play.  The report found 45% of parents feel they have no time to play with their children and that 26 % feel too stressed to play. And the bit that staggered me, 50% believe play must be "educational".  Of course all the children surveyed felt that play should be play and 73% would rather play with their parents than watch TV.

My mum was a play therapist and spent years teaching parents how to play with their children. I watched her in action, both professionally and with my children.  It was an education.  We all have times when it's hard to remember how to play.  We all need gentle reminders and most importantly inspiration.

IKEA sent me some toys and their impact on both parents and children has been fascinating. A good friend popped by and met and fell in love with this bunch:

Croc's rucksack immediately captured her imagination.  Over a cup of tea she came up with loads of play scenarios which she was itching to get home and try with her children.

Miss L loved the Play Report Toy Stories facebook app that allows you to tell your own stories with these characters.  We made up a story where 'Barnacle' the crocodile has a birthday party.  You can even share or print the book at the end.   The results were inventive too, Miss L decided to make Barnacle eat the calendar because he was so sad it wasn't his birthday.

Mr G and Miss L have fallen head over heels in love with the IKEA dalmation puppy. We made 'Snuffles' a bed out of a box, because to play, as the Play Report emphasises, you don't need much.  Snuffles now goes everywhere. He has a lead, a bowl, snacks and his proud co-owners are constantly sneaking him off each other.  I think we may be heading to IKEA so they can have one each.

He's mine sista!

Puppy love
Do you ever get in a play rut?  What gets you out? 

Let's make the world play more!   
Get some tips, like the IKEA Play Report

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At 20 January 2011 at 21:07 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this! Nice one, you x

At 20 January 2011 at 22:28 , Anonymous Kath Parklover said...

A blanket and some cushions work for us every time. A tent - tada! We made a puppet theatre out of cardboard last week but tbh, my duaghter is happy just randomly slapping paint paper or on the back of a cereal box. Doesn't have to be anything. She just painted a piece of paper yellow the other day. Fair enough!

At 20 January 2011 at 22:33 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

WBP - Thank you x
Kath - Boxes are amazing aren't they? Love the puppet theatre idea :)

At 20 January 2011 at 23:04 , Blogger English woman in New York said...

I've forgotten how to play, but will put it on my new years resolution list, because even with no kids this sounds fun! haha xx

At 21 January 2011 at 11:35 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely toys and important to encourage interaction. Making play educational is almost taking away the whole idea of playing. Children are being made to grow up far too soon these days, they aren't being given a chance to take part in play activities for being bombarded with homework and compeititive parents wanting their little cherub to be better than the child they sit next to.

CJ xx

At 21 January 2011 at 13:49 , Blogger SuperLittleMen said...

Last week the kids were playing hide and seek and one of them hid in the small room which has recently become the junk room with boxes that still need unpacking, the christmas stuff which is waiting to go in the loft, spare bed not yet put up, ironing etc, and my first reaction was to tell him off for crawling behind the headboard and over boxes. However something stopped me and I ended up climbing over it with him and hiding there from Jude, and I had great fun, it may of only lasted 20 minutes before I had to cook tea but its been ages since I played with them like that. Today we made a tent under the dinning room table. Good to get back to basics.

At 22 January 2011 at 16:42 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

EWNY - Yep, I think its an important lesson to us all!
CJ - wise words indeed. I agree about the competitive element.
SuperLittleMen - I love this story, we all need to play don't we! Basics is the heart of it I think :)


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