Category Archives: children’s play

The play pendulum swings

As an early childhood educator, I’m thankful the pendulum has swung back towards play.

Schools which previously shortened or cut recess, have added it back into the daily schedule. Schools which were recently built without playgrounds are having a harder time dealing with the fact that play matters.

How much playtime does your child have at school this fall? How much unstructured, screen-less play does your child have at home?

Play doesn’t cost money or require a lot of stuff. When you unpack your own playful spirit, your child might be surprised to see how creative and imaginative parents can be!


STEM again

Even JCPenney has jumped on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) bandwagon.

Interactive, STEM-based toys are included in the newly expanded toy section in Penney stores. The learning-focused playthings will be featured this fall along with Hatchimals, Shopkins, NERF, Star Wars and Hot Wheels. Just in time for…

Tech savvy=Smart?

Tech gives kids a head start. At least according to a recent study, that’s common thinking among parents.

And it is pretty amazing to see an 18 month old swish across a tablet or respond to the dancing images.

Researchers say 2 out of 3 preschoolers have access to a tablet, but parents don’t have an automatic love affair with tech. They worry about exposure to inappropriate content.

That’s a preventable problem. It simply won’t happen when the tablet is only used with mom or dad.

As an early childhood educator, I still need to ask, “What would a young children be doing if he wasn’t playing on a tablet? Would he be learning to ride a bike? drawing pictures with sidewalk chalk? setting the table for supper?

Cookie cutter Ken?

Diversity and inclusion have caught up to Ken: the pop culture icon best known as the boyfriend of the Barbie doll, has undergone a major makeover.

Ken, in what Mattel is calling the “New Crew,” comes in 15 varieties. Simply choose your shape, size and color.

Spinners in school?

Will fidgets be allowed at your child’s school this fall?

That’s a key question for kids who’ve spent the summer spinning.
The six sided toy is designed to help restless hands focus.

Social media so heavily fueled the trend that some fidgets now cost as much as $50. Because the original fidget was not patented, knock-offs are being made by numerous companies.

Industry observers are still uncertain whether spinners will start an entire new category of toys…at least some of the playthings are still affordable.

Play today

Schools are starting up, but has your child played enough this summer? (Plugged in play doesn’t count!)

Unstructured time is essential to a child’s well-being. That’s a fact, although unfortunately, statistics show that playtime has declined for a number of childhood age groups. Today’s kids tend to be over-programmed and over-structured.

So before the first day of school, give your child the gift of time to play. Toss her a football. Challenge him to a race around the block. Encourage her to climb a tree.

Play is such a good teacher.

Cord “Cutter” or Cord “Never”?

Both “Cutters” and “Nevers” are cable-free households, but kids in all kinds of households are glued to screens this summer.

Looking at screens, not reading books, have become the default activity. Research shows children are spending an average of five hours on electronic devices everyday.

Five hours: just imagine how many trees a child could climb, pictures she could draw or times he could cannonball into a pool in that amount of time.