Playing with your children and their toys: it is easy when they are little, but as they grow up a bit, we don’t play quite as often. But an 8-12 year old enjoys Mom and Dad engaging with them just like a little one does. And toys—oh, they take on magic when a parent is involved playing with them.
Christmas is past, but where are the Christmas toys now? Are they retiring on your children’s shelves, or relegated to the back of the closet? Or have you delved into them together? I think it’s sad to see a woodworking set or radio building kit untouched on a boy’s shelf, often just for lack of know-how. They grow out of them without ever playing with their toys sometimes. Your touch would have made them come alive. Your shared interest would have sparked enthusiasm.
How about penciling in next Monday night on the calendar right now? Call it “Family Toy Night” and get the kids to bring their Christmas kits or toys. And play with them together! Read the picture books together out loud. Open and make the sand art kit, or the leather stamping set. Just watching your ease with instructions makes a child feel more able.
Watching you paint with the art set creates a model to follow. I have observed that when we do art together, my kids spend a lot of the time watching me—at least as much time as they spend creating something. Parents are ready-made models and examples to follow. Showing how to use something—and the delight you feel in making things and playing together—is the finest form of mentoring.
Get those toys out and play with your kids. You’ll be glad you did!
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