(StatePoint) The games children play can inform the way they see the world. Here are some fun ways to make playtime an opportunity to help young kids explore new ideas and develop their interests:
• Art: Dedicate a little corner of a room to kid-friendly arts and crafts projects. Stock the space with finger paints, watercolors, play-dough, crayons and construction paper to encourage kids to refine their skills and gain a deeper appreciation for art. Have kids draw and paint from their imagination or take them on trips to a local park to capture what they see.
• Food: Inspire kids’ interest in the culinary world with fun toys that let them be the chef. With the LeapFrog Smart Sizzlin’ BBQ Grill, for example, little grill masters can pretend to grill by placing eight different play food items on an interactive skewer. Utensil hooks keep the tongs and spatula at the ready to serve steak, fish, green peppers and more. The smart grill recognizes the food’s name and color and knows if the heat is too high. Kids can twist the skewer to count along with the grill, then turn the temperature dial from 1 to 10. With sizzling and cooking sounds, as well as safety messages, grilling suggestions, melodies and phrases, this interactive grill is a fun way to get kids interested in cooking and food.
• Sports: You don’t have to enroll kids in a formal, competitive team to spark an interest in sports. Instead, get the ball rolling by going outside to catch, kick and dribble. Having an opportunity to practice sports in a fun, pressure-free environment will help kids develop athletic skills on their own time, while building their confidence and opening the door for a deeper interest in the future.
• Music: It’s never too early to develop a sense of rhythm and gain knowledge of musical genres and instruments. New toys like the Learn & Groove Dancing Panda will inspire kids to get up and move. The panda shakes, dances and spins around to the music and his guitar lights up with shapes, letters and numbers. Kids can play Freeze Dance and other games, press the musical instrument buttons on the panda’s light-up shoes to hear a saxophone, trumpet, drum and guitar, or press the whammy-bar music button to select from dozens of different tunes. The same line of toys also features the Learn & Groove Shakin’ Colors Maracas. One maraca includes colorful shaker beads and the other features a light-up dome that changes colors and plays maraca sound effects. Little ones can add rattling sounds to the songs that play, count from 1-10 with every shake, and press the six light-up buttons to hear color and instrument names. Switching between English and Spanish mode lets kids explore all of the content in both languages.
Young children are absorbing everything they see and hear, so be sure to introduce them to a range of hobbies through games, toys and activities.