Category Archives: children’s play

Trending this summer

Kid’s summer camp registration has skyrocketed in specific areas. Trending:

Mindfulness, meditation, stress-reduction and anything that hints at “calm.”

Gaming: building video games and sophisticated IT camps that focus on specific skills including storyboarding and game testing.

Creative arts including clay animation, cooking, print making, film making and anything related to music.

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More than downsizing

Minimalism has hit the toy box.

Millennial parents might be able to avoid the toy clutter that has plagued generations of moms and dads. Some aren’t merely doing the annual downsizing that happens before birthdays, but re-thinking the types of playthings they purchase.

Open-ended toys, that trigger imagination and creativity, can automatically limit the number of toys that are actually “needed”
to stimulate play experiences.

We’ll see if this minimalist shift is still as strong in December…

Kidult playgrounds?

This spring, I’ve seen more parents sliding and climbing at playgrounds than ever before.

Some of that is due to dads who really enjoy fatherhood and want everyone to know it, which is fine.

But there’s true delight on the faces of parents as they squeeze through slide tunnels and pump sky-high on swings.

I’m convinced some moms and dads are trying to recapture the fun of childhood.

The appy world of kids

As apps devour phone space, the use of apps for children is increasingly being addressed by tech educators.

Actually, the whole topic of media engagement among kids is going far beyond screen time, dealing with topics that include virtual reality games, interactive robots and artificial intelligence. Privacy continues to be a theme throughout realtime conversations on the ground between parents and kids and among researchers.

Educators continue to look for ways that developmentally appropriate apps can bring together children, their peers and their families. We’re on the front edge of a new wave of app engagement.

Toys that teach more

I’ve been encouraged to see a twist in the buzz-phrase, “Play with a purpose,” that has been embraced by parents and teachers.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) toys are still popular. But a new layer has been added onto many playthings. An increasing number of toys are teaching kids how to make a difference.

Common themes are kindness, helpfulness and courtesy. If this generation grows up with these virtues, there are additional reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Techucational

It was inevitable: wordsmiths had to create a word which describes playthings that blur the lines between playing and learning.

As kids opened their Christmas presents several months ago, techucational took the form of robot labs, coding games and all types of boxed experiments. As a result, even preschoolers are well-schooled in the basics of coding.

The trend toward growing these mad young scientists shows no sign of slowing, even as seasonal techucational playthings and games are being launched for summer fun (and learning!)

Gender neutral rolls on

Have you seen the new gender neutral kids line from Abercrombie & Fitch?

Targeted to kids from 5-14 years old, the 25 styles of tops, bottoms and accessories are for boys and girls.