5 Ways to Make the Most of Playtime

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Playtime is one of the best ways that parents can bond with their children. Playtime not only gives parents the opportunity to help in the development of their kids' various skills, it is also a relaxing activity, helping them get their minds off stressful happenings and events. At Mommy Mundo's MomSchool Series, Gabby Roa-Limjoco, mom of three and owner of Playworks Early Childhood Center, shared with parents the many ways that they can make the most of playtime. The morning workshop, which was held at the F1 Hotel in Bonifacio Global City, was attended by a group of moms and dads who brought their kids along with them.

Teacher Gabby says, “Through play, children get to know how the world works. It's how you can nurture their development. However, many children are overscheduled, so it's important to build play into your children's everyday routine.”

But how do we play with our children when there are so many demands on our time? Teacher Gabby gives a number of suggestions:

#1 Always put safety first

Before having your playtime, scout the area for safety issues. Get down on your hands and knees and look for possible hazards that your kids may encounter. Toys must be of high quality and have no toxic materials. Keep in mind that toddlers and babies will want to explore and make use of all their senses so it is important that the play area is safe, she says. There will be fewer no's if the place is safe, she adds.

#2 Let your child take the lead

Watch your child. Find out what interests him. See what he's doing. Be sensitive to what your child enjoys. If he's playing aimlessly without a story line then he maybe bored with the toy or he doesn't know how to use it. In such cases, step in and guide him. If he's getting frustrated because he can't complete a puzzle, for example, give him clues. You don't need to show him directly. Help support the play, but don't accomplish the task for him, Teacher Gabby says.

#3 Allow your child to explore different materials

It's okay if he's not playing with the material the “right way,” says Teacher Gabby. Your child may actually see things that you don't. The important thing is for you to provide support to help him reach his goal.

#4 Take your child outdoors

Kids love action games, and outside is the best place to engage in such activities. Play with them in your garden or take them to the park. “Let them run freely. Kids need to go out and run, just as long as they know you're there,” says Teacher Gabby. Go on a nature walk and see what they can find along the way. Sing movement songs like London Bridge and Ring Around the Rosy.

#5 Keep their hands busy

“Toddlers love making things work,” says Teacher Gabby. Keep them occupied by letting them play with paint, clay, and sponges. Giving them paper and a pair of scissors will give them endless hours of fun. Moms don't usually like kids making a mess, she says, but letting your kids make a mess allows them to explore their senses.

You are your child's favorite toy, says Teacher Gabby. You don't need fancy toys to play with your child. You are your child's favorite toy because he loves you, and a lot of learning happens in a loving relationship, says Teacher Gabby. So join your child's play today! Be present in the moment!