Top 5 Features of a Play-Friendly Home
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
With summer well underway, there are lots of opportunities for children to engage in creative or free play. Without the pressure of school, kids have time to ease up from their scheduled days. Playing allows them to "breathe out." Children who have opportunities to engage in play stand to benefit in cognitive, physical, social, and emotional domains. Good parents remember to balance structured activities (practice, games, rehearsals) with unstructured play time.
H.G. Wells wrote about the importance of play not only for his two boys' development but for all children. He wrote, “Upon such a floor may be made an infinitude of imaginative games, not only keeping boys and girls happy for days together but building up a framework of spacious and inspiring ideas in them for after life.” Happy is the key word. Every parent wants to raise happy children. Wells' book chronicles a turn-of-the-century dad's take on the importance of free play and creating a space for it.
Here are my top 5 features of a play-friendly home:
1. An activity table
One truth is that children can play just about anywhere. However, an activity table that is low can serve as the setting for many play scenarios. Although the floor, as Wells' imagined "the nursery floor" can be just as suitable, an elevated, yet accessible activity table with borders to contain the play space is ideal.
2. Think variety
Having a well-rounded collection of items that can activate a child's imagination is important for children to enter the world of creative play. Wooden blocks serve to create settings or environments for the imagination to explore different realms. The child can create all sorts of configurations to play out scenarios using their hands and wooden shapes.
3. Animals, creatures, and more animals
A variety of animal figures helps a child tame their instincts.
Figurines, like superheroes, villains, and ordinary people help the child explore in the small world.
Vehicles serve to get children moving and creating all sorts of possibilities.
Once the home is play-friendly, parents can model how to play by getting down on the floor or table and playing alongside their children. With the rise of children who report feeling depressed and anxious, parents need to set up the right play environment for their children and to encourage them to engage in play.