When we think back to twenty years ago, what do you feel is the thing that has changed the most? For me, I straight away thought, technology! Definitely! We have realy come a long way since VHS tapes and Walkmans; nowadays it almost seems like children are born with phones in their hands. The next generation with thumbs that could kill due to their strength from texting. So as a teenager who doesn't really have that much of a liking for technology (says she writing this on her laptop with her phone by her side), it really bugs me when I see children who know how to work an iPod before they can walk. But I mean, that's just my opinion of course!
But that's why I like seeing kids using normal conventonal toys, such as ones similar to our PlayBags for a convenient example. Not to seem stone age or anything.... We created the PlayBag in order to keep little Peter occupied whilst I was at training and sure enough, from an idea to a creation, and then from a creation to a company we grew. Paired with whatever is lying around the bottom of our bags, he is entertained for hours, lost in his own little world of imagination. No matter where we are; whether that be in a car, somebody's house or even at a restaurant waiting for a meal, we can always count on our PlayBag to keep little Peter far from boredom.
Do let us know what toys you use with your PlayBag and follow us on Social media to keep up with our latest creations and ideas for using your PlayBag.
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
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!
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.
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!!
Here at The PlayBag Company, we love to play and we understand its importance for children. In this new series we are looking at play from lots of different perspectives.
Today we are looking at the three different forms of play in their most basic sense: Solitary Play, Parallel Play and Group Play.
From birth, children are starting to discover the world around them. They spend their time exploring their senses, from the sound of their own voice, to the feel and taste of things. From this aspect, most of their time is spent in solitary play.
Solitary play can also be important for children at older ages too as they learn not to rely on others for stimulation. Older children tend to engage in solitary play in a creative way such as reading, drawing, inventing and exploring. They may also use their toys to make up games and imaginative scenarios.
Once children reach the age of two or three, they begin to play alongside, but not with other children. They may be doing the same or similar activities, or something totally unrelated. They seem to enjoy being in the presence of others, but it does not affect their play.
Children start becoming more sociable and interact with others from the age of around three. They are still learning a lot about the world around them and in particular, how to share and interact in a positive manner. Social skills are learnt at this age and interactive play plays an important part in this. Important skills such as taking turns are learnt through collaborative play, as well as being able to solve problems and disputes.
The imagination of children playing has always fascinated me, and the thing that typifies play for me is the complete immersion in the game or activity. It does not necessarily have to have a purpose, or an outcome, nor does it need to be completely based in reality. What is important is the absorption in the game itself, and to me this is not an age related thing, and as adults we can learn so much by watching children play – it is about totally being in the moment.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing" George Bernard Shaw