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I think we can all say we’ve heard that famous line uttered by parent’s after the holidays…
“I spent so much money on all these toys and my kids played with them for a few days and now they aren’t interested in any of them”
Maybe you’ve been this parent before too. No shame, if you have! It’s so easy to get sucked into the gimmicky toys! I mean, who doesn’t love to watch an animal hatch from an egg, right? There’s definitely a place for these kinds of toys and I’m not going to sit here and tell you to ban them from your home! I’d be a hypocrite. My daughter’s got Disney character toys and LOL Surprise dolls floating around her room too. Luckily, she plays with them all, very regularly! I truly believe part of the reason she does play with them so often is because we encourage her to play with them in an open-ended way. Sure, that doll may be Elsa, Queen of Arendelle, but today she’s a popstar and Anna is her new best friend she just met on the subway.
The idea of open-ended play is to let the child’s imagination soar, building a scene without limits, letting creativity take the reins. Children are the best story tellers, what better way to nurture that natural ability than by providing the tools for their stories to come to life. Whether it be through crafts, blocks, play kitchens or colorful scarves that magically transform them into a superhero that’s flying through the clouds. Whatever it is, you’ll see your child’s independence blossom, their choice making skills will sky rocket and their problem-solving abilities will surprise you!
These toys will be able to last your child years, as they grow, the way they play with these toys will grow and change with them. As their understanding of objects and the world around them becomes stronger, they will find new ways for these toys to be played with. What was just a wooden arch yesterday, is now a bridge for animals to cross the jungle mountains and tomorrow it will be a boat to sail to where the wild things are.
I am a firm believer in quality art products, yes, even for children! The quality of your art supplies can really make or break your child’s art experience. I mean, have you ever been personally victimized by art supplies? You know what I’m talking about, those crayons that just leave chunky streaks of wax on the paper or the colored pencils that don’t blend.
- Liquitex BASICS 48 Tube Acrylic Paint Set, 22ml
- I’ve been using these paints for years and now my daughter uses them too! They are great paints, they come in beautiful pigments and have a great consistency.
- Prismacolor 92885T Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 36 Piece
- Soft Core colored pencils have thick, soft cores that are perfect for coloring and blending, which is perfect for exploring how color works!
- GIFTEXPRESS Bound Spiral Premium Sketch Book Sketch Pads Set, 4 Pads x30-Sheets, 8.5″ X 11″ Side Wire Bound, White 120 Paper Sheets for Pencil Ink Pastel
- Sketch books are always a great option! I know it can be so hard to hold on to loose pieces of art, but your child is oh so proud of it, as they should be, of course! But, you can only collect so many pieces before they start over flowing! Encouraging your child to use sketchbooks can help contain some of that chaos, without stifling their creativity. Plus, the paper is much higher quality than regular ol paper so it frames much nicer! you know, for the art pieces they are especially proud of.
- Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Blocks
- Playing with blocks helps children learn valuable skills and can even be used to introduce basic science terms such as gravity, observation and comparison. You really can’t go wrong with blocks. They are good for so many things!
- Magna-Tiles Stardust Set, The Original Magnetic Building Tiles for Creative Open-Ended Play, Educational Toys for Children Ages 3 Years + (15 Pieces Including Glitter and Mirrors)
- These building tiles are the coolest, you can build towers as tall as your ceiling, walls to watch the light shine through or you can build animals, rocket ships or houses! The possibilities are really endless.
- Koalabu Natural Unfinished Wooden Peg Doll Bodies, Quality People Shapes, Great for Arts and Crafts, Birch and Maple Wood Turnings, Artist Set of 40 in 5 Different Shapes and Sizes
- Peg dolls are a great option for the story telling child! No faces or defining features, just little wooden peg dolls waiting for their stories to be told. A blank canvas for the crafty child to design.
- KidKraft Farm to Table Play Kitchen Set, Large, Multicolor
- Play kitchens are so much fun, my daughter will spend hours in her KidKraft kitchen, making food for her dad and I, washing the dishes and setting the timer on the oven. Not only do play kitchens provide hours of entertainment, they are great for fine motor skill development! All the knob twisting, cabinet opening and drink pouring that goes on really helps those little hands develop for bigger kitchen tasks, like opening that jar of pickles.
- Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit
- You can’t have a kitchen without food! Since we’re on the topic of motor skill development, these cutting fruit are perfect for introducing a knife to your child in a safe way!
- Kinetic Sand The Original Moldable Sensory Play Sand, Green, 2 Pounds
- Kinetic sand helps introduce children to a unique texture and helps stimulate wonder while also helping improve fine motor skills! There are all sorts of activities that can be done with kinetic sand, you can build sand castles then have a dragon come crashing in and smashing it to the ground. Or, you could take a more educational route and use it to teach letters and numbers by using their fingers as a pencil.
- SimplytoPlay Sensory Bin Tools, Montessori Toys for Toddlers, Waldorf Toys, Wooden Scoops and Tongs for Transfer Work and Fine Motor Learning
- scoops, tongs and bowls are the perfect edition to your sensory play activities. Their uses might seem pretty straight forward, but I can assure you, I’ve sat and watched my daughter play with them for hours. Telling stories about what she was creating or pretending to be a scientist on a tv show (Thank You Emily’s Wonder Lab!)