"Children need to create. They need to make art, to feel and see and move their worlds in new directions." - From Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
Children love to play, but sometimes it seems that they just enjoy making a mess and don't actually spend that much time playing. Like adults, children get overwhelmed by too much choice. To encourage independent play and creativity in our children we need to simplify things for them.
" As you decrease the quantity of your child's toys and clutter, you increase their attention and their capacity for deep play" - Simplicity Parenting
This may seem a bit much for those who want to offer their children the best of everything. But playing with less will encourage you child to use their imagination and turn boredom into invention. When our daughters were 3 and 5 years old, they had plenty of toys which they constantly argued over but never actually played with. My husband and I decided to put them all away and they could just select a couple of favourites to keep. To our surprise, they started playing better with each other, there was less clutter in our home and far less arguing. The biggest difference I saw was that their imagination blossomed!
They started to make everything they needed to play! Forts out of blankets, dollhouses out of cardboard boxes, tiny clothes and blankets out of old scraps of fabric, collections of sea shells, acorns and leaves. Fire engines, ambulances, tractors and trains, all from just one wooden truck. In their imagination, anything was possible!
The more toys we give our children, the less they need to use their imagination. When one toy just has one specific purpose, it quickly becomes useless, it cannot become something else. This does not mean that we should buy our children any toys, giving toys to our children may be our way of showing our love for them. But choosing the toys we give will determine how they are played with.
Children are all so different and may like different things but any of them will find great fun in a bag of building blocks, a wooden truck, a simple dollhouse, and some small animals & people to play with. The rest can be left up to their imagination.