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Our Day of Play
What a few weeks we have had! The start of the school year was a great success, but we quickly became wrapped up in our busy schedule and found ourselves bumping into many “not so playful” things lately. Between social stress at school, homework and school projects, plus a bad cold that circulated around our house, we were ready to recenter ourselves with a day of play.
Play is so important for a child’s wellbeing. Play allows kids to explore, discover, and it fosters healthy development in children. What I find is that we often forget to play. Why is that though? Honestly, I sometimes forget! While we cannot expect ourselves to be perfect, we can consciously regroup and focus our energy on the lighthearted joy of playing by spending time getting lost in games and make believe.
To celebrate the importance of play, Smart School House has partnered with IKEA and the IKEA Foundation to support the Let’s Play for Change Campaign encouraging a more playful everyday life. As part of the campaign, IKEA is introducing interactive play experiences throughout IKEA stores worldwide*, enabling people to uncover unexpected playful moments.
Creating a better everyday life through play time has helped inspire us to spend more time together as a family. For our day of play we set up various play stations of our own around the house (much like a little classroom) for the kids to visit. We had fake food (and real food!) in the kitchen for playing restaurant. That is my son’s favorite thing to play! He likes to be the waiter, the chef, and the cashier.
Today we rolled out pizzas with the DUKTIG toy baking set from IKEA. The pizzas were actually really small flour tortillas that fit perfectly on his child sized baking sheet. My husband loves to cook and, therefore, it’s a really neat way that he and my son connect. They talk about ingredients, adding spices, and even food presentation. Today they made pizza for lunch that we all ate! Of course, we had to pay the restaurant and tip our waiter using his toy cash register 🙂
Role playing and learning new skills are examples of how my kids play to explore in our house. Cooking is a playful way for us to enjoy time together with our kids! My son loves to escape in his role at his pretend restaurant. I used to love doing that when I was his age too! Don’t you remember how fun it was playing with a cash register when you were a kid? They were the best and our day of play wouldn’t have been complete without it!
Our week is so busy with work, school, homework, and sports. Add in the social pressures they are learning to navigate at school and we think it is crucial to foster a safe place for our kids to play at home to help them develop their full potential.
Playing to Express our Creativity Through Art
While my husband and son were in the kitchen playing restaurant and cooking up a tasty lunch, my daughter and I were next to them at the table doing what she loves most…ART!
We drew flowers, emojis, and used paint brushes to make colorful creations on paper using the MÅLA fluorescent glitter paint. My daughter loves to express herself through doodling and it sure was fun to bring out some extra special paint to help her bring her drawings to life! After each picture was done, she’d run outside and place the papers on our outdoor dining table to dry.
It’s always so much fun to see the creativity of children – which is why I especially love the SAGOSKATT soft toy collection – which turns children’s drawings into real soft toys sold at all IKEA stores! This year through the Let’s Play for Change campaign, 100% of all U.S. SAGOSKATT proceeds will benefit Save the Children’s Hurricane Relief Efforts in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, so it’s truly a case of kids helping kids. How sweet is that?!
Our day of play also included skill building toys like this stacking game which has since been used to build houses other creative structures.
It’s incredible to watch how their little minds can be focused on the toys in front of them. For the entire day we didn’t worry about schoolwork, sports, or errands we needed to run. We just played together!
Story Time in Our Day of Play
After a tasty lunch, painting, puzzles, and building, we found ourselves in a cozy and comfy spot reading a relaxing story together. The Night Train is about a boy and a dog getting ready for bed but ending up on a magical train journey. Reading aloud is a perfect way to calm kids down after a lot of hands-on playtime. It relaxes their body and helps promote the reading skills in a fun, nurturing, and loving way. We gave the characters funny voices which really brought and extra level of joy to the book!
Our day of play was definitely helpful in reminding us to find little ways to play with our kids everyday.
To learn more about the Let’s Play for Change campaign, including how an IKEA Foundation grant of $53 million to six international children’s organizations will help support children’s right to play worldwide, IKEA.com here. Let’s Play for Change!
* In the U.S., all IKEA stores will have play stations active from November 9 – December 24