Why play time is the most important gift you could give your kids
During the summer vacations, a gaggle of high-energy kids would descend on my grandmother’s home, bags packed for a month. We were left to our own devices — most importantly, without any battery-powered devices — running around in the sun and inventing our own games under the shade of the kokum tree. Those summers birthed home productions of original plays, unleashed our inner artists and craftsmen, and created memories that still result in laughter ringing around the dinner table when we meet now, as adults.
Child developmental experts champion the power of play in developing social and emotional learning, especially in young children. And choosing the right toys is crucial, according to Dr Swati Popat Vats, president, Podar Education Network. “Toys are the gateway for language, curiosity, physical development and socio-emotional development, for all ages. Play needs to be constructive and healthy for children. Toys like battery-operated toys and computer games lead to many socio-emotional and cognitive problems. Instead, opt for puzzles, jigsaws or other games that stimulate your child cognitively.”
While putting together the Tweak Children’s subscription box, we discovered Chalk & Chuckles, a brand launched by sisters and toy designers Pallavi and Prachi. They use the principles of educational psychology to build emotional intelligence and 21st-century skills through their games.
“We design play experiences where children learn to navigate the world, seeing themselves as part of an interconnected universe, where their choices and actions affect others. This is the foundation for a more compassionate and kind world,” the sisters say.
Our favourite game, which won a treasured spot in the subscription box, is Shape Your Story. Players are given cards with basic shapes like circles and triangles on it, and with the use of wipe-erase markers, are invited to reimagine the shapes as everyday objects. A circle could transform into the full moon, a snowman, even nani’s signature gulab jamuns. The game promotes creative thinking and communication skills, while also building your child’s confidence as they impress everyone with their stories.
It’s also a way to get the whole family to put down their cellphones and tablets for a second and connect over conversations. Trust us, these are the moments you’ll be reminiscing over for many years to come.
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