Why should indoor play be confined by walls in winter?
Winter is here. And in many parts of the country, this means cups of warm beverages and bringing out the woolens. For most kids, however, it is a time when their outdoor play gets truncated as the days get shorter. But, with a little bit of help from the right toys, it could transform from “I’m bored’ complaint time to a fun-filled evening of fun and games.
Indoor play is ripe with possibilities – be it board games, puzzles, pretend play with props, craft and other hands-on activities, or and best of all – made up games (who among us has not felt envious of Calvinball, with Calvin and Hobbes making up the new rules for every session?).
Indoor games do more than keep kids (and parents) occupied. They also teach children important social skills – how to welcome other kids into their homes, how to include siblings in their games, how to be courteous to guests and to be good guests themselves.
Playing inside can also be a great trigger for creative flow. Toys that are designed for open-ended play encourage imaginative thinking as kids make up stories or situations using them. Just watch a group of kids in group play; you’ll see them creating characters out of the blue, plotting their adventurous exploits and conjuring heroes and villains with magic powers and more as their imaginations run wild. But look a little closer, and you notice the smaller joyous details. The way the kids feed off each other’s imaginations, the joy of co-creation, the ability to collaborate and make something bigger, better and more magical than any one of them could have thought up on their own.
As a parent, indoor games offer you ample opportunities to spend time and bond with your child, (while reliving some parts of your childhood as well). Family and group games that have to be played as teams teach co-operation and foster team spirit.
Apart from the great times, you will have, games also throw up great teaching moments, some subtle such as the need to wait your turn in a board game, and some more blatant such as the need to be on a losing side occasionally. Even though the tears of a child who has just lost a game may tug at your heartstrings, remember that resilience and the need to bounce back is a strength that your children will need as throughout life. While it is all right, or even recommended, that you may let a toddler ‘win’ more often, try to become more neutral as soon as they are old enough to understand a sense of fair play.
Playing games is an easy and excellent way to spend unhurried, enjoyable time together. While the colder temperatures and shorter days may have confined play within the walls of the house, getting stocked up with the right toys, equipment, and attitude can set the imagination completely free. And create great memories that last a lifetime too.