The Benefits of… Play (plus WIN with Fisher Price!)

When you think of your childhood, what do you remember most?

For me it’s the times I spent making houses with my siblings in the garden, riding bikes to my neighbours, pretending to be teachers with my best friend, playing boardgames with my dad, building sandcastles on the beach….

Childhood was always about having the most amount of fun and that meant one thing: playing!

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As a kid I would spend hours playing… dinky cars, Barbie dolls, baby dolls, dressing up, drawing, building blocks, decorating dolls houses, climbing trees, making mud pies, playing “school school”, swopping stickers, hiding and seeking, “around the world”, “on-on”, imaginary friends and pretend houses. What were your favourite things to do as a kid??

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Childhood years really are the most memorable. Somehow the memories of these days linger longer than many other memories in our lives. I think it must have something to do with the side of our brains that we tap into when we play… the imagination, the make-believe, the magic!

Unfortunately in these modern days of DVD’s and Netflix and PVR and Xbox and iPad (etc etc etc) there’s not too much playing to be had for kids. It’s such a pity that playing is often their last resort (usually after endless nagging about some screen time!)

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Playing is SUCH an important aspect of childhood – from babyhood right up to the teenage years (and beyond… even adults benefit from playtime!) There’s no cut off age for play. Kids of all ages should have unstructured time in their schedules in order for them to find time to play. Spending time playing is often how we discover what we love to do the most… and many times adults who are unsure about which direction to take in terms of the career can look back to what they most loved to do in their pre-school years and discover their real passion, and perfect career path!

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Playing = learning

Play is the way children learn about themselves, others and the world. In fact there are some schools that don’t teach any work at all… the only “learning” the kids do is through spending all their time playing. And that is exactly what kids should be doing.

The Benefits of Play are numerous. What may look like mere child’s play to you actually takes a lot of work — problem solving, skill building, overcoming physical and mental challenges.

Children over the age of 2 should engage in at least an hour a day of moderate, enjoyable physical activity. Active children grow into active adults!

 

I recently did some research and rounded up a few of the main benefits of play that you might like to remember the next time you hear “Can I watch something?” or “Can I play on the iPad?”

 

The Benefits of Play

  1. Learning to get along with others – in group play children learn how to get along with others and helps them get ready for the everyday experience of interacting with others.
  2. Sorting out conflicts – The give-and-take of compromising and learning how to negotiate, cooperate, and share are essential life skills that playing teaches kids.
  3. Improving brain power, cognitive development and language skills – A wide variety of experts agree that play is essential for a child’s brain development. Play helps children develop language and reasoning skills, encourages autonomous thinking and problem solving as well as helps improve their ability to focus and control their behaviour. Play also aids children to develop verbal skills, judgment, reasoning and creativity. Play experiences also teach children about consequences and risk, which helps them in decision making as they grow up.
  4. Developing fine and gross motor skills – Different types of physical play help develop different skills: skipping takes balance, climbing monkey bars builds strength, and sports activities involve coordination. Fine motor skills are also developed through play. Stacking blocks into towers is not only learning about gravity and balance but also developing hand-eye coordination and building the small muscles of the hand and fingers.
  5. Building self-esteem – the attention friends and you, the parent, give to your child when playing together is key to building self-esteem. When you or his friends pretend along with him, you’re showing him that you accept his make-believe world, that something he’s interested in is fun and important. When kids take risks and overcome challenges (such as climbing to the top of the jungle gym), they develop a sense of accomplishment which also leads to higher self-esteem.
  6. Encouraging independence – solitary play helps kids socially, as it develops a strong sense of independence, promotes creativity and imagination and alleviates boredom when they devise their own entertainment. The ability to play on their own is an important life skill.
  7. Boosting imagination and creativity – one of the cornerstones of childhood is imaginative play because it gives your child a sense of control as he interprets the dramas of everyday life and practices the rules of social behaviour.
  8. Promoting better behaviour – kids behave better in the classroom when they have the chance to run around on the playground during the school day to release excess energy. I’m pretty sure this would help at home too!
  9. Providing emotional “down time” – play helps kids to learn how to regulate their own emotions, a skill that will serve them well. Free play helps children develop emotionally: building self-confidence and esteem; experimenting with various emotions; and releasing emotions from trauma.
  10. Acting as a stress reliever – play is fun, and fun leads to laughter so play is the perfect antidote to a cranky kid! Recent research has found that laughter is a powerful, readily available and cost-free way to boost your mood and psychological well-being.

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Play is considered so important to child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child!

Finding time to play with kids can be a challenge if you are working, managing a household and parenting more than one child. But play isn’t optional. It’s essential! Make time to play!

Make sure there’s enough time for play in your child’s schedule, and ensure that your child has time to be just that … a child.

Family schedules are also so very busy these days with a multitude of activities to fit in, but while children need time to play alone and with other children, playing with their parents is also important. As a family shut down the screens for an hour or two a few times a week and find a way to have fun together. Maybe it’s a board game, charades or hide-and-seek. Maybe it’s building a puzzle or a block castle together.

Provide toys that reflect the love and nurturing of your family. Children’s imagination and social skills thrive when they play with toys that provide them the opportunity to express similar emotions to what they see at home, whether it’s a farmer taking care of animals, or playing house with a pretend family.

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Fisher Price is one of the very best toy companies around. As a child I, myself, played with so many of their toys.

Who remembers their telephone, portable record player, Little People, toy garage, pull along dog?

Over the years the best baby and pre-school toys around have always been those by Fisher Price… and thanks to their exceptional quality they last long enough for future generations to enjoy, in fact my mom still has a few in her stash for the grandkids to play with when we visit!

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Fisher Price are all about play. They believe in letting children be children – free to experience the joy of their own natural desire to learn, imagine, discover, and to care about others – that they will then develop into happy, capable, bigger people.

One of their iconic baby and toddler toys is the Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy.

The sweet little pup comes with 50 sing-along tunes and phrases to help teach your child….

  • letters & the alphabet
  • numbers & counting
  • colours
  • parts of the body

There are 3 stages to the toy so that it can grow with your child from age 6 months to 3 years.

Level 1 = Explore. First words and sounds to spark curiosity

Level 2 = Encourage. Prompt baby through questions and directions

Level 3 = Pretend. Imaginative fun and early role play

 

As you can see above this beautiful toy is a lovable, educational and creative toy that will be cherished for years to come.

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Fortunately one lucky Becoming you reader stands a chance to WIN a Fisher Price Smart Stages Puppy worth R725

 

HOW TO ENTER

Enter your details in the form below… and leave a comment below telling me your favourite Fisher Price toy memory – for yourself, your kids or your grandkids!

Competition ends on Friday 19 November.

 

 

Images: Kathryn Rossiter, Pixabay and Fisher Price

Disclosure: 7

 

Parenting advice is given as suggestions only.

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 6 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

91 Comments
  1. The toddler play gyms are my favorite. My son played endlessly with his and it gave me a few minutes to have a cup of tea (hot) while I watched enjoy the activity of the gym!

  2. Awesome prizes indeed, hope to be the lucky one. Fisher Price is AMAZING for the Children to play with,Oh I remember the chatter phone – I used to love that when I was little. My mom still has it somewhere, might get her to dig it out! Thanks for a trip down memory lane 😉

  3. As a child, I loved playing ‘shop shop’ with the Fisher Price cash register. My preschool had one and it was my favourite toy at preschool.

  4. I remember my brother sand I spending hours playing with the shape blocks and other Fisher Price toys. The fact that they survived us is testament to their quality.

  5. We have only had a kid for just shy of a month… so all the toys she has (she has the smaller version of the dog and a very cute elephant) I bought. By that I mean I sat flat on the floor in the shop testing out all the toys and those that made me laugh or was too cute for words – they came home with me.

  6. I have fond memories of the Fisher Price pull-along telephone. I am so happy that my folks kept it all these years and that my kids got to play with it too. This just show the longevity and durability of Fisher Price’s toys.

  7. I still remember my son’s Fisher Price pull-along telephone. He used it for years and it was eventually the property of my 2 granddaughters. Sturdy and entertaining is synonymous with all
    Fisher Price Toys!

  8. A recent mom, my daughter loves the play gym / play mat. Gives me time to recuperate and get my bearings in order when I feel I need a little me time.

  9. My memory is of a rattle we got my son when he was a baby.. and now that he’s sister is here we can pass it on to her.

  10. It felt like yesterday when i got my son his first Fisher Price pop up blocks. Those blocks kept him busy for hours and he never got tired of playing with them. He is 7 years old now, and we pased the collection on to his baby sister.

  11. As a baby my daughter loved playing with her telephone and it reminded me so much of me and my sister playing with one back in the day.

  12. My favourite memory is when we handed our little girl her Fisher Price Violet interactive toy. The expression of her face when she realised what it could do was priceless, they were inseparable from there on.

  13. My sons favourite Fisher Price toy would have to be the play gym with all the hanging animals. He absolutely loves animals and imitating the sounds they make! His gotten a bit too big for the gym but i had to remove the animals so he can still play/sleep with them lol Winning this puppy for him would mean the world as we can’t give him a real one 🙁

  14. I loved as a Child the Fisher Price cash register,I always played shop and it was so much fun.
    Brings back such good memories.

  15. I bought my son the Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Playhouse last year and he goes nowhere without his little puppy and playhouse(The look on his face was priceless when i gave it to him with the lights going on and off along with the happy singing)..he sings and dances to the music and is busy learning the ABC. The Smart Stages Puppy will be a perfect gift for my son as he will be two years old the 16th November 🙂 Fingers crossed!!!!

  16. As far as I can remember Fisher Price has always been part of my childhood and now also my daughter’s. As a baby and toddler I played with the Busy Box CRIB ACTIVITY CENTER After the birth of my daughter my mother scratched it out of storage and let’s say it was a instant hit. It’s become my daughter’s most treasured toy. Seeing my daughter with it normally brings a lump to my throught, it brings back memories from my childhood and that I am so fortunate to share my favourite toy with her. <3

  17. Ah my little guy would love this! Fisher Price toys are the best, they last for years to come, my niece and nephew passed along some of their baby toys to my son, and they still look in fantastic condition… Growing up we loved that little poping push toy, and of course the telephone! My son spends hours playing with the stacking cups, and shape sorter!

  18. I remember receiving the FisherPrice toddler play gym when I had a baby shower for my babygirl. This was the best ever. I started using it when she was 6months old. After her feeds and burping her, I would leave her on the floor to play with the gym. She was fascinated with colours and being able to touch and play with the toys. Will love to win, my eldest daughter is expecting her first baby, will love to win for her. Baby is due this December.

  19. The Newborn-to-Toddler Play Gym is very handy and baby can learning so much with this play gym, colours, movements, stretching and more would love one for my first grandchild she will be born 30 November

  20. I had a pull along puppy when I was little and loved it and now my little one has a fisher price one and just adores “Waggy”

  21. I remember ‘phoning’ my grannies over and over on the Fisher Price telephone. And that pull along doggie was my favourite toddler toy. I would love to get one of those for my little one. I also remember the coloured rings on the cone and teaching my little brother to stack them in the right order.

  22. My most treasured memory with Fisher Price is actually rather recent – Paige has many Fisher Price toys but the one close to my heart is her Bright Beginnings walker! She’s 13 months and showed no signs of wanting to walk on her own but suddenly got up one day and started pushing her walker around!
    Her first steps with Fisher Price ♡

  23. My favourite Fisher-Price toy … their iconic Chatter Telephone! Before my first sibling came along, I remember having vast telephone conversations with imaginary friends … pulling the telephone along throughout the house and out into the garden. The phone was passed down to my two younger siblings … and we are six and twelve years apart! Talk about durability – excuse the pun!

  24. My most unfavourite memory is my wife laughing at me assembling the activity gym for my daughter. It is also one of my best memories with my wife buying the most adorable Fisher Price toys for our daughter.

  25. My GreatGrandDaughter enjoyed the beach set the most. Living so close to the sea is tubes place for a child to play learn the best. We love #FisherPrice

  26. I had and it’s still in good condition 32 years later is the fisher price musical pull along ….my kids now use it and they love it aswell my mum always tells my kids the story of my attachment to the toy and how I never use to let it out of my sight even to the extent that I at once stage use to sleep with it in bed next to me and hold it ….,

  27. The beautiful moment when I phoned my hubby and told him we having a baby he arrived home with a Fischer Price Babys First Blocks a memorable moment , my daughter sadly never got to enjoy playing together with her dad as he tragically passed on. Love to win for my precious niece who is having a precious baby in December.

  28. My 5month old got a Fisher Price Rainforest jumperoo from his grandparents. Although not that long ago, the memory of his little face the first time we put him into it was priceless. Looking forward to the rest of his playing journey with Fisher Price.

  29. My daughter was fortunate to receive a Fisher Price Sound and Light table when she turned a year from a family member for her birthday present. She loved it immediately..the sounds and lights totally amazed her, and at the same time she has learnt different animal sounds just by exploring it on her own. Most of her toys she sort of “outgrew” with the months, but a year later she is now 2 years old and still loves playing with it. She loves flipping through the book…and the best part is that it buys me more time when cooking supper because she is so engaged with the table when we get home!

  30. I’ve loved watching both my kids play with the pull along fisher price dog. They love him. And I enjoyed playing with the push along bopper

  31. Hi, such a flood of memories! We had the record player and a play house. The record player lasted and lasted! my mom still has the sesame street play house and my children play when we visit.

  32. I have been a great supporter of of Fisher Price Products. They last long and are very educational. I remember that my son had a dog that entertained him for hours on end. My daughter had a Fisher Price Phone. It lasted so long I could pass it on to a family member. I am entering this competition as it will be a lovely gift for my sister in law’s 6 months old baby.

  33. Hi, I recently became a parent and a proud one too after I was able to hand down my fisher price mobile to my baby. She loves the music and animals on the mobile. 30 years later with a trusted brand fisher price toy that my baby enjoys.. fisher price sure goes a long way 🙂

  34. My fondest memory has got to be about my 5 month old. She received a gift from her aunt a fisher price swing which has a little cat and a little dog hanging from the top . So everyday when I’m cooking I put her in the swing and all she does is grab and scream at the cat the whole day the one day she hit it and it got lodged at the back of the swing n she was in tears . This is my fondest memory because it shows how clever kids are , how they know what they like and dislike and also just how innocent they are

  35. Whenever I am in doubt as to what to buy my twin boys or gift friends and families littlies, I am always sure to check out what Fisher Price has in stores. Over the last two years I have so enjoyed watching my twins interact and grow with their toys. A favourite memory would be one sunny afternoon at my moms while they were lying on their playmats and for the first time my one twin reached and managed to grab one of the dangly toys – what a milestone! His brother followed suit and i think I shared the video i took woth almost everyone in my contacts! We have another on the way and I know she would love this interactive puppy as much as her brothers loved theirs!

  36. Hi, we’ve always bought Fisher-Price for our children because of the good quality brand we’ve come to love! My daughter ( 8yrs) has now outgrown her toys, (the Fisher price walker was the best, always kept her busy and happy for ages – we even passed it on to our niece after that), my son has now taken over! We loved the playmat for him when he was a baby, but my fondest memory is with the ”learn with lights” piano or as we call it, the ‘musical pizza’ 😃 My son (1year old) always hated being in the car seat and hated car rides, he was fussing as usual when out of desperation i take out the musical pizza and he almost immediately calms down and starts playing & laughing & dancing … we never left home without it! He’s also absolutely loving the stacking rings & being such a busy boy I love that he learns independent play with his Fisher-Price toys ♡

  37. I absolutely loved the Fisher-Price Kitchen! I never had my own one, but spent hours playing with them at friends’ houses!

  38. For myself as well as now my kids we loved the Fisher price telephone and ouppy that has the pull along string attached! Classic favourite!

  39. My favorite Fisher Price memory is one i just shared with my 6 month old little princess about a month ago. We bought her a play phone with shiny lights and sounds. When u took it out the bag, her little face completely lit up and she immediately put the phone to her ear and said ‘Dada dada dada’ Literally brought me to tears as she tried calling her dada:)

  40. Hi there. I do not have any Fisher Price memories as my daughter is only 7 weeks old but I have been doing research on their various educational toys and am very impressed. I can’t wait to get her a few things and enjoy some ‘playtime’. I would love you be a winner… fingers crossed

  41. I just love how my kids learned and solve the stack up toy he enjoy it a lot it must be played again and again keeping him busy and learning

  42. The best memory has to be my little boy as a baby in his fisher price bouncy chair – kickinh his feet to make the chair bounce – so sweet 🙂

  43. The best memory has to be my little boy as a baby in his fisher price bouncy chair – kicking his feet to make the chair bounce – so sweet 🙂

  44. Love Fisher Price toys! This would be super awesome for my baby girl. My memory would have to be the shape sorter. A great stimulation toy for kids 🙂

  45. My children loved first blocks. At first I had to play with them. At that time I was 25 and enjoyed it very much as we did not have toys like that. Till today I still play first blocks with my youngest grandson who is six. Fisher price is quality, education and fun in one package. Awesome!

  46. My fondest memory of Fisher price toys was watching my baby boy with his first green talking puppy and seeing him trying to respond back to it, when he could hardly talk yet 🙂 <3

  47. I love to watch my little grandchildren with their Fisher Price stackable rings 👫👫👫 and it is also my best memory about my children….. Playing with them stackable rings from fisher price

  48. ohhhh has to be the Fisher-Price – Stacking Sounds Animals
    – it was so amazing to watch my gals face light up and the squeals and shrieks of delight

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