Any sort of fantasy play is super important for children for a myriad of different reasons. If your household is anything like ours then the independent play and fantasy play have definitely gotten less during the weeks of lockdown. As all other play gets less the time in front of various screens has increased. This is not my favourite thing to do but to be honest these are unchartered times and we all just have to do what we can to keep sane.
TV (or Zoom classes or MS Teams lessons or YouTube videos or video chats with friends and family etc) can be an easy way to occupy children safely while you can get some work done, have an uninterrupted meeting or try and clean something. I have a full appreciation for screens and digital babysitters at the moment. However, the down side to this is that sitting in front of a screen for too long or too often really can put Ella into a foul mood (so sometimes not worth it). It can make her really moody (perhaps too much stimulation without expending any energy- I’m guessing here) it also has made her lose appreciation for her other toys. So this past weekend we had a screen free 2 days and it was actually blissful.
While we were screen free we tried as much as possible to take turns between doing something for ourselves as parents while the other parent spent some proper quality time with the kids. We really did all end up having a great time as a result. This is not to say that my daughter is not currently sitting in front of the TV… everything has its place. I guess (for me) what I have learnt is not to become to auto-reliant on TV and to rather encourage her to try something else and put the TV on less days in the week. As with everyone I am trying to find the balance and these days are very up in the air really.
This weekend while trying to encourage a bit of independent play I thought we would try making puppets. I used wooden teaspoons we had left over from one of Ella’s parties but lollipop sticks would be a great substitute. If I was planning to do the activity alongside her then I would have perhaps ventured into using fabric scraps, wool or glitter etc but I wanted Ella to do most of the work (to remind her she can do things alone, to give her a sense of accomplishment and to allow her free creative reign).
I did the first one with her and she did the rest. She loved it and it led to her playing a whole fantasy game with her puppets afterwards. She also asked me the next day if she could make more, so I gave her more materials and she got on with it and now has a load of puppets that she plays with happily.
I hope your children enjoy this activity as much as we did. Wishing you a week filled with happy imaginative play (and some TV time out too).