With my friends Cai, Jackie, Didi and Pam at the Johnson's Play for Real event
Can you tell which of the moms above are guilty of iPad parenting? Ok fine, it may just be me. Ahihihi.
But sometimes, it's just too easy. I make them sit down, tinker about with an educational app, watch a toy review on YouTube, or play a game, and they're so quiet right away. How can I not? Especially when there's a ton of things I have to do, handing over my phone or iPad always seems like a good idea. Yes, even if I know it's not the best thing keep them preoccupied. Woe is me.
I do let them play for real of course. I have noticed in fact that they don't need expensive toys and gadgets to keep them happy. Hand over some empty bottles and boxes, and they'll figure out creative ways to play with them. Xavi gets a box and turns it into a house. Berry converts my discarded eye serum bottle with a dropper into a doll's feeding bottle.
Berry and Xavi found this box at S&R and pretended it was their house
And this is the sort of "playing" that Johnson's Baby advocates.
My UP Econ schoolmate Trina Tanlapco, who is now the Associate Marketing Director for Johnson's Baby, spearheaded the Play for Real campaign, because they want to remind parents that playtime is a time for learning, and that what seems like an ordinary activity, can actually mean so much more for our kids.
discarded bottles can turn into squirt guns, rocket ships, a coin bank, and more, with just a little bit of imagination
And when Johnson's Baby says, "Play!", we're talking the full sensory experience - because children learn more when their sense of sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste are activated and enhanced.
Apparently, when the different senses get stimulated in activities during play, the neurons and brain connections are formed better, making kids more receptive to learning. They develop their fine motor, language, cognitive and social skills. It fosters creativity, while learning different concepts and preparing them for bigger challenges. There's a lot going on, in what may seem like regular playing.
Sight: When was the last time your kid played with leaves and twigs? I remember playing with leaves and twigs as a kid, mixing it with water in an toy clay pot my Lola bought for me.
Taste: How do unpopped corn kernels taste like? I wouldn't be surprised if at least one curious kid popped a kernel in his mouth, heehee
Smell: Coffee grounds! Like soil, but smells so much better!
Feel: slipper, bubbly, soapy ducks!
Hearing: Can you hear the sound of dripping water? Gushing water? Water coming from 6 different faucets?
Just take a look at the pleased look on Xavi's face when he managed to unearth a coin using a magnet...
Priceless! I've never seen him do that while playing on the iPad!
In fact, the entire time our kids were immersed in sensory play, I've never had them come up to me asking for my phone, or complaining that they were bored!
They had a grand time scooping corn kernels.
Getting wet with a garden hose.
Filling up empty plastic bottles of Johnson's Baby top to toe wash and gleefully splashing it onto their friends.
Making colorful artwork using not just paint brushes, but also sponges, and even their bare hands and feet.
In fact, just as we were about to leave, Berry made one last request to go inside a giant bubble.
I've forgotten how playing the old-fashioned way can be so much fun! It was amazing how my kids and their friends spent a good 3 hours outdoors, tirelessly playing under the sun, without any complaints. I really should give them more time outside, getting sweaty and dirty, playing with sticks, stones, leaves and mud, running through the garden hose, and scribbling with chalk on the driveway, like the kids of my generation used to.
For more on Johnson's Baby and the Play for Real campaign, visit the Johnson's Baby Facebook page. Now watch what real play can do for our kids: