Photos courtesy of Ribena Plus
Do you feel under pressure to buy the latest toys for your children? You aren’t alone.
The makers of Ribena Plus have released the second chapter of the Ribena Plus Play Report looking at the effect the modern world is having on play. It reveals that parents today feel under pressure from all sides to spend money on toys rather than time playing with their youngsters. In a survey of 2,004 British parents, half of parents questioned said that they can’t afford the play activities they’d like for their children, and one in six feel pressure from other parents to buy certain toys to keep up with fashion rather than simply for them to enjoy.
Parents should take heart in the fact that expert advice actually shows that kids become more creative when left to play alone with open-ended items rather than prescriptive toys.
Sally Goddard Blythe, a consultant in neuro-developmental education and author of ‘The Genius of Natural Childhood’ explains, “Children develop their imagination and creativity quite often as a result of boredom. Clever marketing tactics and consumer culture have led to parents being seduced into thinking that the more they provide for their children in terms of material, electrical goods and, in turn, the more money they spend, the better parents they are. Sadly these days we tend to see parents facing pressure from all angles to buy the latest toys and gadgets and other forms of free, exploratory play become less part of childhood than in previous years.”
Sally helped Ribena Plus to develop the ‘Pocket Playground’, an easy to assemble travel-sized box of low-cost items to help stimulate children’s imaginations and help them rediscover the joys of exploratory play wherever they are. The Pocket Playground consists of easy to source, everyday items:
- Coloured threads (at least 3 colours)
- Coloured paper
- Drawing / colouring pencils
- Small wooden shapes and building blocks
- Modelling clay
- Beads (under supervision)
- Cardboard pieces
- Toy people
Ribena Plus also compiled a list games and activities that use the contents of the Pocket Playground which you can download by clicking here.
Although some of these ideas might not work for everyone (all my attempts at origami have ended in tears, and please don’t ask me to make a friendship bracelet), the list provides lots of inspiration. You could always add other inexpensive items to your child’s Pocket Playground to suit their age and interest; for example crayons, small colouring books, felt or fabric scraps and glue sticks.
The Ribena Plus Pocket Playground is portable and a great way to make rainy days and long journeys a lot more fun for your family. It can also give you ideas for new games and activities to encourage your children’s creativity without having to spend a lot of money. Fun, frugal, family time? Sounds good to me!
The 21st Century Housewife has not been compensated for this post.