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Low-cost play ideas

Kids don't need expensive toys. They will use everything in hand and normal house things, we all have around, to play, to create stories, to develop their creativity and play with their imagination.


From Catherine Sewell, Play Specialist:


Play absolutely does not have to cost a lot. Kids really need materials to play. They need something to manipulate, which doesn’t necessarily mean they need toys.

The best materials are open-ended materials, which means that the same object can be used in lots of different ways and by lots of different age groups. The best example of open-ended materials that are fantastic for play are natural materials. Petals and leaves and sticks and the dirt and sand and water; they’re everywhere, they’re free, and they provide your children with a huge variety of play opportunities. So, a stick: it can be a sword, it can be a digging implement, it can be my microphone, it can be for the structure that I build something with. It could be something that I jump over. It could be something that I use to measure something. It is an open-ended material. Can be used in lots of different ways.

And if we’re thinking about human-made objects, some of the best things in my experience are balls. From babies all the way through to 10- and 12-year-olds can be playing amazing games with balls.

Cardboard. Recycled containers and boxes and tubes can be used for all sorts of things, and even something like strips of fabric or scarves. They can be dress-ups. You can make cubbies out of them. You can go and have a picnic with it. You can dance with them. They can be all sorts of things for all sorts of people and all sorts of types of play.


The more they need to use their imagination to think about how they’re playing, to problem solve, try a new way, to use their bodies, use their minds or connect with somebody else; the more that they are able to do that, the more development is happening in their brains and across their whole body.


This is a transcript of the Raising Children Network video available at http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/low-cost_play_video.html


Now I'm going to grab some blankets and build up a tent around the chairs with my kids. We will play camping in the living room and who knows what else will come up! What about you?


Stay creative and play!


Maria Vergara - Wolols' Mom



Wolols Publishing Pte Ltd - Singapore - María Vergara  

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Maria Vergara is member of the SCBWI

Maria Vergara is member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

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