Ways to Spend Quality Time with Your Children When Life is Busy!

One of the challenges of parenting is doing several things at the same time. Somehow, once you turn into a parent, you're instantly designated to become a multi-tasker--and while it's often a real challenge, it's fulfilling in the name of the kids. Parents are always busy; that's a given. And while it seems that you don't have all the time in the world, it's still important to find that balance and spend some ample moments with your kids. How can you do that? We've listed some tips to help! 

Be around during bedtime 

One's childhood is often filled with memories of bedtime, so it's important to be there for them during those moments. You can help them get ready for bed and then read to them before they sleep. This chance allows you to cuddle, talk, and bond, and can also be your time to wind down from a long day. When they're fast asleep, you can then proceed to finish your tasks. 

Make conversations in the car 

Those mornings when you drop them off at school are precious times to catch up with them and get to know them better. Turn off the radio, ask them to put away their gadgets, and just talk and have fun. Take it also as a warm-up to have an energetic day ahead. Just make sure to keep your eyes on the road, of course! 

Watch a movie on weekends 

Watching movies together is a fuss-free way to bond, learn together, make conversations, and more. You can start a tradition of watching at least one movie on weekends so every member has that activity to look forward to throughout the week. You can make it extra special by taking turns choosing a movie or discussing your takeaways after the show. Don't forget to whip up some yummy snacks! 

Bond over breakfast or dinner 

Mornings are often rush-filled but every once in a while when you get the time to wake up extra early, you can prepare something special (perhaps your child's favorite hearty breakfast meal) and grab that chance to talk to them while they enjoy their meal. Dinners are also great to gather all the members of the family, eat, and catch up. 

Join their playtime 

Be there for the moments when they are learning and enjoying the most of their childhood--which means you have to be around during their playtime. Encourage how they play or act like their peer when they're engaged in an activity. When they know that you're someone fun to be around, they'll cherish their moments with you even more. 

What's your most effective way to bond with your kids even when it feels like you don't have enough time?

What Are the Best Types of Toys?

Toys are a great way to start and support a child’s growth and development. Just like playtimes, choosing the best toy for your child requires knowledge and attention.

Toys help a child in many ways - may it be in physical, cognitive, and emotional development. They spark a child’s interest and curiosity that encourage them to use their imagination, creativity, problem-solving and social skills.

In choosing which is the best toy for your child, some things must be considered such as their age, interest, and stage of development. There are different types of toys for babies, toddlers, and older children. For babies, it's all about interaction with the parent and other family members. They get to enjoy play activities like listening to your voice or music or looking at brightly colored objects. Toddlers likely enjoy open-ended toys such as building blocks, boxes, dress-ups, and crafts. Older children, at their age, would often like to deal with puzzles and problem-solving toys.

The way your child uses and plays with the toy and their safety are also important things to be considered. The Michigan State University Extension identifies best types of toys for children:

Blocks and building toys

In a research conducted among preschoolers, block play has been found to stimulate brain development. Children who play block regularly will do better in math and numbers.

Puzzles and problem-solving toys

Toddlers as early as 2 years of age can do best with puzzles. It develops a child’s memory, motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and many more.

Materials that promote art and play-pretend items

A variety of writing and drawing tools for older children, as well as musical instruments, will help in developing their open-ended creativity and let them explore and imagine. Play-pretend items will help children build their social and emotional skills.

Motor play items

Large play items such as balls, bicycles, toy cars, etc. will give an older child some physical activities to do and help them be more active.

Considering all of these and determining a toy’s effect on your child’s growth and development will guide you in deciding which is the best toy for your child.  Sign up today!

The Importance of Free Play for Kids

Your child's playtime should be that one thing in their life that doesn't have a set of restrictive rules. After all, one set of rules that apply to one child may not necessarily be befitting for another--and that's because children are all unique and have different ways of learning, enjoying, and expressing themselves. Let your child enjoy free play and see the benefits for their growth! 

Free play encourages independence 

Free play is one led by a child. They make the rules, the pacing, the direction, with minimal supervision from an adult, allowing them to develop their independence. However, be mindful of how involved you can get during free play because when there's an adult around, children aren't as free to be themselves--they have the natural tendency to try to please an adult. Instead, you can have two or more children to play along and allow them to enjoy this freedom by themselves. 

Free play hones the imagination 

When a child is unrestricted or not boxed by certain rules, their imagination gets to work, developing their creativity in the process. They are able to push beyond their limits and come up with fun variations of what they already know. You'll be surprised by how creative they can get! 

Free play develops confidence 

Given the freedom to make their own rules, a child can learn and grow at their own pace through the games that they play. Having this sense of control gives them confidence in themselves. By overcoming some obstacles while playing, they get to understand just how much they're capable of doing. Not only that, but they also get to take hold of their emotions--they get to make sense of disappointments and rise above them. 

Free play allows movement 

You know how important it is for kids to incorporate movement and exercise into their daily routine. While some don't have a problem getting up on their feet and moving away from their gadgets, it's still a struggle for others. You see, kids are able to maximize their youthful energy when they are free to move, unrestricted, and unpressured. Take them out and allow them to explore on their own, and you'll be seeing them move on their own in no time. 

Do you encourage your kids to do free play? What benefits have you noticed for them? 

Independent Parallel vs Cooperative Play

Parents need to understand that there's no one-size-fits-all form of play for children. Every single child is unique and has their own special skills, interests, and pace when it comes to learning and playing. That's why a certain type of play that may work for one child may not necessarily be interesting to another. When this happens, it's important to create a play and learning environment that is unique to a specific child. When you do this, the first thing you need to consider is whether they're suited for playing by themselves and looking at others from afar or collaborating with others instantaneously. After all, some people are extroverted and prefer being surrounded by peers, while others are more introverted and would rather do things independently (while observing their peers). 

All these things considered, we're going to take a look at how different independent parallel play and cooperative play are from each other, and how you can incorporate these two distinct types in your child's best interest. 

Independent Parallel Play 

With this type of play, a child remains ecocentric. This means that they're more focused on themselves and keep their distractions from others at bay. They don't need to wait for their turn and can take on the challenge of figuring out how things work by themselves--although it's possible that they will look at their peers from a distance to get an idea about how to handle the toy or game in front of them. 
You must know that Independent Parallel Play is often considered the first step to prepare themselves for cooperative play because, at this stage, they are still beginning to develop their social skills and figuring out how to play cooperatively. However, there's nothing wrong if your child prefers this type of play even as they grow older. It just means they want to do things independently. 

Cooperative Play 

As the name suggests, cooperative play involves a group of children learning together and collaborating to achieve a common goal. When your child is a part of cooperative play, they begin to develop further their social skills through interaction. They get to learn the importance of following rules and fairness, as well as learn how to negotiate, resolve conflicts through proper communication, and even gain empathy for their peers. They also get to feel that sense of belonging, which is so important to have as early as childhood. If your child gets fueled up by interacting with people, they wouldn't have any trouble adjusting to cooperative play. 

Which of the two types of play works best for your child? How has it helped in their development? 

Type of Games and Toys That Can Help With Social Development

It's always so fulfilling when you see your child gaining a new friend. After all, one of the skills you want your children to gain as they grow up is their social development. You want them to be able to relate to their peers and understand the dynamics of interacting with people around them. Now you can further allow your child to hone their friendships and relationships through these games and toys!

Sports-based games

Sports-based toys are always a crowd favorite involving many players that interact and work together for a common goal of following the game mechanics and winning. If you're thinking of teaching your child and their peers a new game, look for one that's unique and interesting. Perhaps a game of Croquet? It's a game that's easy to follow and do, and it also helps develop your child's fine motor skills!

"Loose Parts" toys

"Loose parts" toys refer to small materials such as blocks, sticks, and other sensory materials. These can work as open-ended toys that naturally stimulate your child's way of engaging their imagination and using the power of unstructured creative thinking. When your child plays with these kinds of toys with a peer, the possibilities for social interaction are also limitless!

People of the community small figures

Toys that recreate communities can give your child the chance to process what they observe in real life, and apply them to their small games. In playing, they can understand the importance of visiting a doctor for a check-up, or the role of a police officer in traffic safety, or buying bread from the local baker. As they play, they may also discover what they want to be when they grow up!

Hand puppets

Now your child can take the center stage performing a hand puppet show for everyone to see. Build their confidence in being around people and develop their vocabulary, with these cute hand puppets. Take it a step further by dressing them up in costumes and kid-friendly makeup. You can also decorate the stage with fun art and cool lighting for a full production! Now go and invite family and friends to watch!

Which of the listed games are you most interested to try for your child?

Play Ideas for Children with Special Needs

All children learn in their own way and timing, but we can all agree that one of the most effective ways to do so is through playing. This is especially true for children with special needs, who most often require engagement, stimulation, and movement. Aside from that, preparing play activities for them will make them feel the extra love and will strengthen your relationship further. So take note of these ideas and build some entertaining play activities into your child's routine! 

Sensory integration activities 

Children with special needs need time to process an overwhelming amount of sensory information everyday. As a result, they tend to avoid touch, movement, sounds, and sights. You can help them overcome this by trying some sensory integration play at home such as rolling games, spinning, indoor obstacle course, painting, touch and feel activities, and more! 

Speech and language activities 

For a child with delays in speech development, oral motor exercises are truly helpful and important. These types of play can help them pronounce words better and they can develop their vocabulary along the way too. Some activities you can try for strengthening jaw control and better articulation of words include blowing bubbles and making funny faces. These are great exercises for their facial and mouth muscles. As for developing their language skills, try doing memory games, tongue twisters, sentence strings, and even singing silly songs. 

Scavenger Hunt 

It's always fulfilling when you're able to find items on your hunting list, so this is a fun activity to try with the kids. Not only that, you can also use this activity to tidy up the house (winks!). Come up with a list of hidden objects within the house, then give it to your kids as they set off on a scavenger hunt. For the young ones, you can use guiding pictures for the items, and for older ones, you can make some clues or riddles to make it extra challenging. 

Choose the right kinds of toys for them 

Toys are tools for playing and learning, so when picking some that your child can play with, it's important that the toys are suited for their development. When choosing toys, consider factors such as versatility, adjustability, multi-sensory appeal, safety and durability, and potential for social interaction. Did you know that our experts here at KIDDOS Toys Club can do this for you? It's one of the perks you get when you join the club! Simply indicate your child's development stage, interests, skills, and other relevant information, and you can expect a well-curated batch of toys every month, delivered straight to your address! 

Know more about how you can take advantage of this on our homepage! 

Benefits of Learning Through Play

Kids are constantly growing and learning new things, and it's amazing how they are able to absorb such new skill sets in their young age, and at lightning speed. Do you know what makes learning so easy to them? It's because they have fun while doing it! Yes, their seemingly inconsequential routine of playing is the biggest contributor to the skills they have obtained thus far. Curious about this occurrence? Read on!

Play allows kids to explore 

Kids are naturally curious beings (well, aren't we all?), so anything that trickles their interest will gain them more understanding about how things work and exist the way they do. Exploration is crucial--they need to be free from constraints that keep them from seeing the world through their own eyes. When they're playing, they can make their own rules and discover about the world around them, and naturally learn some crucial things along the way. 

Play reduces their stress levels 

You'd be surprised by how an average kid has their stress levels increasing by the second. When their feelings are bottled up, they will grow in frustration, and not understanding their emotions can have significant effects when they become older. Play can become a healthy outlet for a child's anxiety and stress, giving them room to grow emotionally. 

Play improves communication skills 

Whether it's verbal or non-verbal, communication has a big role during play, which means engaging in play activities is truly significant for a child's social skills development. Play also involves social rules or norms of behavior, as well as social concepts (like sharing, waiting for your turn, empathy, teamwork, or compromise) that your child will need to get acquainted with, especially when they start getting exposed to the society more.  

In the case of your child, what other benefits of learning through play have you noticed? Have these benefits fully convinced you that play is truly significant in your child's learning journey? 

Keep Kids Busy While You're Working From Home

While working from home can be convenient, it can be also challenging at times. Achieving a healthy work-life balance in a remote work lifestyle isn't really easy. And if you have children to take care of, this can be harder for parents and raise stress levels further as it brings its own set of unique challenges!

It's true that parents experience stress juggling work and familial duties, especially during these trying times. It does get a bit frustrating when you suddenly run out of activities and entertainment options to keep your kids occupied so you can get your work done. For those times, here are some activities and tips to keep your kids busy and happy while you’re working from home.

Schedule your playtime.

According to Adrienne Apell, a toy trend specialist, kids thrive on regularity. Scheduling your playtime will help them stick to it and give you time to be productive, too. Have a designated time to play with your kids and if you can, also plan your activities the night before. 

Have your designated spaces.

It is important that your children have a space of their own where they can be creative while you also allow yourself to work and focus comfortably. It also helps to draw the line between home and work.

Let them be creative or get active.

When a child’s interest or imagination is sparked, they can play in a world of their own for hours on end! Let your kids have fun and amazing playtimes with the convenience of toy rental services. By signing up to KIDDOS Toys Club, your kids can experience playing with various wonderful toys without getting bored because they will get to have new toys every month - just sign up for a subscription that suits you and let them play while you work!

Spend some time outdoors, if you can.

Let your kid play and work out their pent-up energy while you let out some anxiety, too. A good walk outside can be enjoyable for you and your kid.

Find the balance between life and work.

Even if it sounds like more work, the advantage of remote-working is that you are at home with your kids. There are times when you have to adjust and be flexible but there are more things to be grateful for and these activities can help you out!

How do you deal with balancing time for work and family while at home? What activities for kids are proven to be most effective in your experience? 

Why You Should Avoid Having Too Many Toys at Home

Toys help children, especially toddlers, to learn something new and discover their skills. But as much as the positive impact of toys on a child’s development, there is a downside in having “too many” toys. At times, parents are responsible for this. If you’re thinking of buying another set of toys to keep your child busy, then think again.

According to child behavior experts, too many toys can affect the concentration and focus of a child. Having too many toys in their spaces can be overwhelming and impact their ability to learn and play creatively. Children with too many toys get distracted easily and cannot enjoy a quality playtime. A study led by the researcher at the University of Toledo, Ohio found that children with fewer toys are actually far more creative and develop their ability to think of other ways to play with the toys they have, expanding and using their imagination for a more enjoyable playtime.

There are also other reasons as to why there are downsides of children having too many toys:

Too many toys can result in boredom.

When children know that they have so many toys to choose from, playing with one toy for a long time can easily get boring - resulting in children always asking for something new.

It can spoil them and have less care for their toys.

Having fewer but special toys can teach your child how to value something they own. It will also help them understand the concept of “having enough” and being satisfied.

Too many toys means less space in your home.

Toys take up space - organizing and decluttering them can be a tedious task. It's better to give your child more space to play and be more active.

Most parents buy too many toys because of pressure and by thinking that it's the only way to satisfy their child and make them happy. The truth is, you can break this trend and become a smarter parent to help in the overall development of your child. 

Close-Ended Vs. Open-Ended Toys

Playtime is one of the most important aspects in a child’s life. It is a primary foundation in a child’s growth and development. Consistent and regular playtime has a lot of benefits in a child’s development. Through playing, a child learns new sets of physical skills, develops social and emotional capabilities, and discovers the world around them.  According to Dr. Tiff Jumaily, a pediatrician, playing is how children learn.

Play nurtures a child’s relationship with oneself and the people around them. Aside from the cognitive and physical benefits of playing, it builds the sense of empathy, creativity, and happiness to a child. Parents are encouraged to spend and engage playtime with their child. It is important to note that children also need to learn to play by themselves. This facilitates them to explore and make sense of what they see, hear, and feel around them. 

One of the best ways to initiate play with children is through toys. You may have heard about open-ended and closed-ended toys and what are their benefits when used to playing with children. There may be some misconceptions about these two types of toys - whether one is better than the other or that children prefer one over the other. 

Close-ended Toys

Close-ended toys have a specific way on how to use them and one purpose. Examples of close-ended toys are puzzles, object to picture matching toys, and tracing materials. Toys with a single purpose allow children to develop focus and concentration and have a mastery of a certain skill set. These types of toys also introduce the concept of challenge to children and have them explore their way to accomplishment.

Open-ended toys

Open-ended toys, unlike close-ended toys, have a range of uses and ways on how a child can enjoy playing with it. Examples of these toys are art supplies, educational materials, dolls, and objects from nature. A child can play freely and creatively with open-ended toys and their use of imagination. It also promotes engagement with their parents and peers or just having an independent play. Open-ended toys are beneficial for promoting communication and social skills of a child.

Whether your child enjoys playing with close-ended or open-ended toys, both types of toys can help them in different ways. Both types of toys can be wonderful and play a part in providing new knowledge and experience to a child.