As a mother, I find myself in a bind sometimes. I want to keep my home clean and presentable, but I also want to encourage my kids to be kids; to play, to learn and to explore their world. As you probably know, childhood is messy! Balancing a clean house and adventure is almost an art. Instead of banishing toys from certain areas of the home, creating an invitation to play station has been a great solution for my family as it keeps toy clutter at a minimum while offering my children an opportunity to be kids and to absorb themselves in the important business of play in the areas of our home that we tend to gather.
Creating an invitation to play is as simple as creating an area for learning and play. The area should capture the curiosity of a child with materials that encourage touch, exploration, and manipulation. Your play station should involve open-ended activities that a child can complete in a variety of ways, all of their own design.
An invitation to play can be as simple as offering various colors of homemade play dough and assorted cookie cutters to encourage hands-on play, or it could involve a selection of materials to build with, or supplies to create with.
By offering your children a play station, you will capture their interest and imagination and open the doors to exploration, discovery and hands-on learning in a contained environment. In my experience, I have found that when an appealing array of materials are offered to my children with little to no direction that they happily play, discover and learn in one area of our home. This minimizes my stress as a mother as the messes that come with free play are limited to one area of the home.
I don't know about you, but I would much rather enjoy the sight of my children digging into an adventure in play over the act of housekeeping any day. Invitations to play give my kids opportunities to learn through hands-on activities while keeping our house tidier, which in turn allows me more time to savor the sights and sounds of childhood as it happens before my eyes.
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