Jacob and I recently attended the #PlayForReal playdate hosted by Johnson’s Philippines. The invitation said it would be a “gadget-free” playdate, so I was pretty surprised when they handed out tablets to each child who entered the venue!
Jacob is 6 years old, and we only allow him to play with his Ipad on weekends. The playdate was on a Tuesday, but I decided to allow him some gadget time, to see what the Johnson’s team had up their sleeves.
With gadgets in hand, the kids stopped talking to one another. They became uncommunicative and unresponsive, sedentary, and almost like zombies! These observations paved the way for a discussion on how parents can and should be more mindful about the type of play their kids engage in.
The event kicked off with a forum facilitated by Eliza Ypon. Eli discussed the A to Z’s of real and sensory play with guest moms Fiona Sandoval, a clinical psychologist and play therapist, Monica Javier, a preschool teacher at Explorations, Kris De Guzman, an entrepreneur who also happens to be one of my fellow SoMoms, and Trina Tanlapco, Johnson’s associate marketing director.
The forum was such an eye-opener for me! I was pleased to learn that we were doing a pretty good job limiting the use of gadgets at home. However, I realized that I still have to work on creating a conducive environment at home so that my kids can fully reap the benefits of sensory play. Consider these:
7 Benefits of Sensory Play:
- Real sensory play strengthens the bond between parent and child.
- It is during active play when all five senses of the child are awake, making him or her more receptive to learning.
- In sensory play, children develop their fine motor, language, and cognitive skills.
- Sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain, which result in the ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
- More than fun and entertainment, play actually helps children expand their knowledge, improve communication with others, and develops new competencies.
- Sensory play is a useful tool for calming an upset child.
- Kids retain the most information when they engage their senses.
In other words, play isn’t just a way to pass time. Play is serious business for kids, because it’s the best way for them to learn new things.
After the forum, all the kids were invited to step outside into the playground for some gadget-free, real play! Johnson’s set up multiple play stations using things like sand, water, paint, and even coffee beans.
See the difference in the kids? When engaged in active and sensory play, the kids’ faces light up with wonder and delight, and they are so alive and interested in everything and everyone around them.
After a couple of hours of outdoor play, we were invited back inside to listen to Mariel Uyquiengco of The Learning Basket share about play activities that parents can try with their kids at home.
I’m so excited to try them all, but my favorite idea would have to be the Sensory Bin. It’s essentially just a simple box filled with different materials that appeal to the senses. You can put almost anything into your sensory bin, as long as you deem each addition safe for your child. One great idea I got f for working moms is to prepare several sensory bins to leave with Yaya while you are at work!
Here’s how you can make your own:
D-I-Y SENSORY BINS
Sensory bins are so easy to put together and totally customizable, depending on your child’s age and interests! Here’s how to make your own:
- First, choose a filler to put into your bin. Try colored pebbles, shredded paper, uncooked pasta, dried beans, corn kernels, uncooked rice grains, or coffee beans!
- Add a few accessories such as miniature toy animals or rubber toys.
- You can also use other small toys that your kids can use for scooping and pouring (spoons, cups, etc.).
- You can also create themed bins for your kids. For example, to prepare for a beach trip, you can make a bin filled with sand and small beach toys to get them excited about the trip!
Do you have any special activities or fun games that your kids enjoy? I’d love to hear about them! You can also share photos of your projects on Instagram and tag them #PlayForReal.
This is a sponsored post. Thank you Johnson’s Philippines for supporting Green Lunch Diaries!
upplementary images courtesy of Johnson’s Philippines