By JANE KINGSU CHENG
Albert Einstein once said,“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” My parents have always let me play, whether by myself with the latest gadgets or the art materials I could find at home or with the neighborhood kids. I was always playing. I was always exploring and pushing boundaries with what I could do with the limited resources I had back then. I also credit my resourcefulness to my dad, whom I used to watch tinkering with gadgets. He helped me with my school projects and watched over us as we opened new toys and try to figure out how to play with them.
When I became a parent myself, I unknowingly chose to buy and give toys that were either educational and/ or creative. One parent commended me with the prizes I prepared for our youngest child’s first birthday party. It was she who made me realize that I had always leaned toward toys that would encourage creative play and child development products.
Toys are toys, and they will be played. But how can play evolve into creative play? This is where parents come into the picture. My dad was there with us, either watching over us or playing with us, especially when it was a new toy. It is our job, as parents, to guide our children as they explore the worlds that they have imagined in their heads.
I know we’re all busy, but trust me, you will be amazed as you listen to them talk about their made up stories during pretend play. These are priceless moments you will remember forever.
This Christmas, your kids will most likely be receiving a lot of toys. Don’t just let them play on their own. Let’s join the fun and be their playmates this holiday break. It’s time to create new core memories. Here are some tips to get the conversation started and get to know your children more.
Expand your world through reading
Storybook torch, P999.75, Mi-Deer, available in Toy Kingdom Comes with eight fairytale stories and a projector that makes it interactive and extra fun.
Parenting tip: Don’t just read the book. After every page, try to ask your child what he thinks of the scene. Example: Why did the lead character do this? What do you think he should have done? And after reading the whole story, ask your child what he learned from this. It’s a good way to boost cognitive and analytical skill sets.
Experiment through DIY kits
Slime Making Creative Play: Meet Monsters Boxship, P980, @oliboxship
This box comes with a storybook, comics, instructions, and materials on how to make your own magnetic slime and monster squishy toy.
Parenting tip: Children love making a mess, so why not let them have fun in a contained area with these fun activities? It’s a great opportunity to teach them to check the materials first, then study the instructions, and build together. Science comes in when it’s time to test out the magnets. Ask them what they think before revealing the answers.
Explore with pretend play
Handpainted wooden dolls, prices start at P1,200, @nyop.ph
Parenting tip: These dolls represent the whole family, and it’s a good way to talk about your day using these adorable handpainted dolls. Relive special memories or plan your holiday trips to get your children excited. Who knows, they just might help with the itinerary.
Encourage art activities
Handembroidered doodles, starts at P790, @bubbadoodles
Have your child’s works of art sewn on to a clothing item.
Parenting tip: Great conversation starter for kids and adults alike. You and your child can “save” these special artworks and showcase them, sharing the story behind the illustrations. A form of selfexpression that will evoke emotions and bring out ideas you’d never think existed in your little human beings.
Engage with STEM-approved products
VertiPlay Marble Run, @oribelph
Parenting tip: Anyone will be mesmerized with marbles that go through a maze. More so, when it’s installed by the wall—space saver genius! You and your child can build many maze versions, even do races together. And if the marbles don’t make it to the end, then it’s time to work out those brain muscles and reconfigure the routes. The possibilities are endless.
Equip with outdoor activities
A foldable scooter with wide foot panel and LEDlighted wheels, Chaser Action Sports
Parenting tip: Time to get the kids out from their seats (and beds) and take them out with these scooters. Go for an outdoor spin and bond with your kids as you teach them to maneuver this new toy. Share stories of how you used to go out with your own scooter or bike, and what you should watch out for, whether rough cement or strangers, and when it’s time to go back home before the sun sets.