In our house, gadgets like the iPad and the TV are not banned but they are regulated. David knows that the iPad and his Nintendo DS is only for the weekends. Noah plays with the iPad when he’s on a break from therapy. I guess the trick is to balance and to see these gadgets not as foes but as partners. There are so many educational apps available for free and some are just $1.99.
Even with these tools however, I still encourage free play with both the kids. I always tell Yaya Ann to take the boys out in our garden every afternoon so they can play on the grass, feel the sun and the air and to just play with each other, without any gadgets to distract. This kind of play is the kind we all grew up with. It’s freeing, creative and so much more fun. I see David’s imagination at its best when he’s not distracted by the iPad. I see David and Noah’s bond growing stronger when they’re just playing together either in a game of eternal hide and seek or when they’re sword fighting. Of course, I can’t help but also see Noah’s gross motor skills improving with every habulan and taguan games he plays with his kuya.
I always ask Ann to take Noah with her when they’re watering the plants or just doing the laundry. As much as these are all playing for Noah, it helps him with his gross motor skills. Walking on grass and uneven surfaces helps him with his balance and core strength.
Johnson’s Baby recently held an event and I took the boys and Ate Ann with me. I filed and used one of my vacation leaves just for this. It was summer, David and Noah needed a fun day and that’s what we had from the event. Johnson’s Baby set up an amazing play area filled with activities that are designed to awaken the five senses. I went around and saw familiar set-ups that we had at home. These bins are familiar to Noah and David. If you want to create a sensory bin at home, just fill a plastic bin with macaroni shells (or dried corn kernels), hide small toys in it and allow your child to dig through the macaroni shells with his bare hands. It develops hand strength and sensory integration. The concept Noah learned is that when he looks through the bin, he will discover a toy that is hidden beneath it. It’s called “object permanence” and is a milestone for cognitive development.
The kids all had an amazing time at the event. They played together and all got wet together. Who knew that the sprinkler would be the hugest hit of that afternoon?! One of the guest panelists at the event was Monica Javier or Teacher Moc, who has been a preschool teacher for more than 10 years. She emphasizes how play is important in early education. To quote her ““More than fun and entertainment, play actually helps children to expand their knowledge about themselves, allows communication with others, develop new competencies that may prepare them for challenges of the bigger environment.”
Well said Teacher Mocs 🙂
We took home a Sensorial Box from Johnson’s as souvenir of the event and David took to it right away. He was so fired up from the creative afternoon that when he saw the crepe paper, he laid them out and created a beach scene! I cut out the sun and he laid down the sea, the sky, and the beach all by himself. I was amazed!
Noah does Occupational Therapy twice a week and we always try to continue the activities at home. I’ve always been meaning to do a post on what we use with Noah and now I have the chance to show some of them to you. More than developing fine motor skills, OT also helps with Noah’s sensory processing and helps improve his cognitive skills. We have a lot more at home but these are what we always pull out whenever Noah is playing:
The Mula bead roller coaster from Ikea and wooden puzzles teach spatial relations, colors, cause and effect (when I push the ball it goes this way and that way), animal sounds, and shapes among others. It also teaches Noah the concept of sitting down (with quiet hands) and finishing an activity.
This is a lacing toy, which we practice a lot with Noah. It helps with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. It also teaches him about shapes and colors. We also use the beads for sorting and stacking.
This peg board also helps with spatial concepts and hand eye coordination. I actually saw a lot of these types of toys at the Tahanan Walang Hagdan booth at Greenhills. They also have a kiosk at Market! Market! I always try to buy from them because these toys are all made well by very capable hands. Plus they’re not too expensive too compared to the imported toys at popular stores.
Johnson’s Baby has a lot more tips on how to encourage sensory play at home. Visit and like their page at https://www.facebook.com/JohnsonsBabyPhilippines.
Thank you Johnson’s Baby for such a fun afternoon and for truly encouraging and reinforcing with us moms, kids and yayas to go out and play for real!