The PlayBlog

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  1. Play at Different Ages

    Play is important at every stage of a child’s development as it is how they learn about the world, and practice what they have learned in a safe environment, however we all know that no two children are the same, and they all develop at their own rate!

    Here at the PlayBag Co, we are naturally very interested in how children play and what it is that captures their imagination at all different stages of their life. Our PlayBags are developed to encourage open-ended play and have no edges or bits that can be broken off and swallowed making most of them suitable for all ages – look out for our PlayBags marked “Baby Friendly” which are suitable from birth. (Our PlayBag Garden and The Shire have long pile fabric for the grass and so are not suitable for under 18 months.)

    Birth to 18 months

    Right from the start babies are learning about their world through play. Their brain is developing rapidly throughout the first year and they are using their senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. It makes sense then that the best toys for this age have a range of textures, colours and noises.

    In a basic way, they are also learning about cause and effect, so it is also important that they can interact with their toys, so things such as rattles, and squeakers are great as they teach that the child that when they do this, that happens.

    18 months to 3 years

    Ackerman quote

    Wow, this is an incredible age! So much is going on inside their brains, and in fact a toddlers brain is twice as active as an adults!!

    During this stage, they are developing motor development as well as language and this social-emotional responses.

    It is also a very active phase, often with lots of running, jumping and climbing (on everything!). Who has not marvelled at the energy of toddlers? Active games, ride on toys are great for this stage and help develop their gross motor skills.

    They also tend to be very curious at this stage about how things work. They are developing their hand-eye co-ordination. One of the simplest and best toys for this stage is simple wooden blocks. They can be anything, and due to their open ended nature expand their minds and creativity – they have certainly stood the test of time!

    3-6 years

    Dorsey quote

    This is an incredible age for growing minds! During this stage, children’s brains are growing their problem solving skills, improving their memory and learning to interact with others. Imagination and interaction are key parts of this phase as role play and acting things out helps them understand and make sense of their experiences.

    As they are mastering day to day skills during this time, any toys which help the act out scenarios are encouraged. Dressing up, tool sets, meical kits, teddies dolls are great for helping them master everyday experiences, while finger puppets and small world play help them act out scenarios.

    Make believe games also help them improve their language and social skills as they learn to interact with others and learn how to share.

     

    6-9 years

    This phase sees the child refining their motor and sensory development. They will have their own like and dislikes, and are able to have more control over their impulses.

    Their attention span increases and so they may get very involved in crafting activities, or imaginative play games. They also tend to like to challenge themselves intellectually.

    9 – 14 years

    Play continues its important role during this phase although tends towards group activities, sports, games etc.

    They are also still increasing and refining their memory, regulating their emotions and increasing their planning and problem solving skills.

    They may also have a preference for solitary activities such as reading, music, and creative pursuits. By now, their preferences are pretty much well defined.

     

    Of course this is not definitive, and every child is different and develops at different rates. And where a child has additional needs, the phases may be even more fluid. The main thing is that the child is given freedom to play in a way that suits their needs.

     

    And don’t forget – even as adults – we still need to play!!

    Shaw quote

     

    Debbie x

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  2. I love this time of year, as the world seems so full of promise. No matter what is going on in the rest of the world, the cycle of life continues. Gardens are starting to look colourful (although it has been known for us to be making snowmen in the Easter holidays before!!)

    It is also a good time to spring clean our lives and discard things that are no longer useful to us, and hopefully that includes a bit of time for us to recharge our batteries.  

    Here in Northamptonshire, we are nearing the end of our Easter Holidays (which started on 31st March), although I believe for most of you, Easter is right in the middle. Either way, I hope you are all having a lovely break and finding some time to relax.

    Free Activity Booklet

    In this month’s Newsletter, subscribers should have received a free download of our Easter activity booklet. (If you don’t already subscribe –  sign up here and I shall forward a copy. )

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    We know that sometimes over the school holidays, whether it is a rainy day, or a car journey, you just need something to keep them busy. I also love putting together little activity sheets, (a throwback to my teaching days!), and hope to be able to do more of these in the future – so keep an eye out on our social media.

    Also, please email me on [email protected] if you would like me to email you a copy of the answer booklet 😊

    If you have any comments or suggestions on how we can improve our booklets, please do leave a comment below.

    Happy Easter!!

    The Playbag Company (Easter)_Final_72

    Debbie x

     

  3. How do you use the PlayBag?

    PlayBag Maxi Instructions

    The PlayBag is very easy to use, and each one comes with its own “Care Card” which explains how to use and look after your PlayBag.

    To make up into its bag form you simply start at one of the handles, and do up each set of poppers in turn, do the same at the other side, fill with toys and fold over the Velcro flap to secure everything inside.

    Check out our short demo video on using the PlayBag Mini here.

     

    Where do you use the PlayBag?

    PlayBag Adventures banner

    The PlayBag was designed to be used anywhere!! We take ours everywhere, for spontaneous play! We find them especially useful while travelling to alleviate boredom, and for when we are eating out. Check out our PlayBag Adventures page for more ideas as to where you can use your PlayBag.

    Is it suitable for travel?

    The PlayBag was born to travel. The PlayBag mini is an ideal size for travel as it fits perfectly on the lap in cars and busses, or on tables in planes and trains. The maxi also doubles as an overnight bag for the odd night away. Why not lay it on top of your duvet for an undulating interactive bedtime story!

    What toys are suitable to use with a PlayBag?

    PlayBag Toys banner

    We don’t like to be too prescriptive about this, as you are only limited by your imagination which knows no bounds!! However, we are particularly fond of wooden vehicles, Lego, Playmobil and character figures. Check out our blog on our top ten favourite toys to use with a PlayBag.

    How much can I fit into the PlayBag?

    The PlayBag maxi has plenty room for a good number of toys as well as some snacks and PJ’s if needed!

    The PlayBag mini is meant for shorter journeys, however it can still fit a good number of toys in it!

     

    Please see our FAQ page for more answers to our Frequently Asked Questions, however, please do leave a comment if you have any other questions that you would like answered.

     

    Debbie x