It's the holiday season and everyone is rushing to find the perfect gifts for their children. Every day seems to bring a new toy, with lights, sounds, remote controls, and the latest technology that your child could ever dream up! It's a whirlwind to keep up with. The problem with all the latest toys is that even though they claim to be educational, to help your child learn and grow, they are a sad replacement for what your child really needs, which are simple, hands on toys and activities, played together with their parents.
Play is an important part of learning and development. Children need purposeful play that helps them develop their fine motor skills, language skills, ability to interact with each other, and helps foster emotional regulation. Screen time or using an iPad does nothing to help this. This year, make sure you have the following types of toys on your child's "Santa Wish List." Get your child puzzles, blocks, Legos, and toys that encourage building and construction. Choose toys that encourage pretend play and help your children develop their imagination.
Our son absolutely LOVES to do "projects" as he calls them. He loves to paint, color, draw, glue, cut, and create anything he can imagine with a paper plate, puff balls, and glue! I cherish these times as we make memories together, talk, laugh, and I get to watch his joy and eyes light up as he creates something new.
I worry that these experiences are being lost and happening less and less, as iPads and video games are overtaking our children's time and attention. Even something as simple as making paper snowflakes seems to have fallen away. As parents, we can't forget how important these activities are for our children's development and how much better they are than any app.
I recently completed a research project working to develop children's fine motor skills. I worked with preschool students and saw incredible growth in our pre and post tests. What did we do you ask? Well....we worked with play dough, painted, practiced picking up items with clothespins and tongs, used paint dobbers and stickers to practice making lines and shapes, and of course colored with Effortless Art Crayons! You know, really high tech things! Children's pencil grasp also improved, which is a huge foundational piece for young children to progress to harder tasks, like writing letters and numbers, not to mention, help to increase their independence!
My point is, these activities are necessary for your children to experience if you want them to be ready to read and write. We may not think much of them, because it seems too simple. But simple is truly better, in fact, simple is necessary. If you don't build your child's foundation, they will have nothing to stand on when it comes time to learn to write, spell, and move onto more complex literacy skills.
This holiday, give the gift of art, of creativity, of purposeful play.
Have a happy holiday season.
The Effortless Art Family,
Nancy, Jason, and Crayon Kid
Nancy and Jason are the owners of Effortless Art Crayons, a Two Sparrows Learning Systems product. Visit their store at www.effortlessartproducts.com.