176pp., pbk., RRP $A27.99
Sometimes in these days of high inflation, rising prices and general busy, busy, busy, we can get to the end of the day and realise that we haven’t had time to just play with our children, to enjoy their company and encourage their imagination and creativity. And suddenly, they’re in school or college and those precious years are gone.
There is so much research into the importance of play for children of all ages – it’s commonly called “the child’s work” because it is critical for physical, social, emotional, cognitive and literary and numeracy development – that it is essential that we make time to really engage with the young ones in our lives and explore the world alongside them. Thus, this new book which is full of ideas for simple things to do together inside and out will be very welcome to parents who may have forgotten that most play does not need time-consuming preparation or elaborate props. A sheet over two chairs and there’s a secret cubby, add a torch and a book and there’s the bedtime story made extra special.
Arranged according to the seasons but not restricted to following that timeframe, the book is full of ideas that both parent and child can dip and delve into to find fun together or individually. From growing things, cooking things or learning a new craft to learning to breathe deeply, to taking the time to just appreciate Mother Nature or even just savouring a warm bath , there are suggestions that are simple but fun. The activities cover a broad age range so it is one that parents will find useful to have to stave off that inevitable “Om bored” wail, while independent readers can challenge themselves by making their own jigsaw puzzle , creating a workout circuit at a local park with friends or cooking shortbread for the family.
Perhaps, instead of sweets and treats in the Christmas Countdown advent calendar, each family member could suggest an activity from the book, or another one they love, to be enjoyed each day and shared at the dinner table. A time that is family fun and screen free and the best for building family relationships that will last forever. Kids will remember the fun long after the novelty of a new bathroom has been forgotten.