Monday, 12 March 2012

What Did You Do For Fun When You Were a Kid?

What Did You Do For Fun When You Were a Kid?

Just recently one of the Designers on a social media business network asked the question “What did you do for fun when you were a kid?” There followed a joyful list of replies from all around the world where people recounted briefly the things they did to pass the days or hours of free time. They all involved playing outdoors, making dens, damming streams, dragging empty boxes onto abandoned plots of land and making hideouts, playing games with friends and competing in teams. Or else making things out of scraps and found objects; taking things to pieces to make them into something else, digging in sand to make miniature landscapes. Each of these activities were so simple, so delightfully childlike and, importantly, unstructured, undirected and playful.

The pleasure it gave is still remembered. As one respondent said “I remember the excitement of waking up each day, eager to begin all over again”.

Child Psychologist, Jerome Singer, says “We give children the ability to create their own lives when we allow children to create their own play” – Play continues to nourish the spirit throughout life and remains key to innovation and creativity”

One thing that was particularly noticeable was that the children were playing outdoors and without adult supervision. Nowadays we are very afraid of letting our children play alone outdoors. Playing in the garden, playing in each other’s homes or playing whilst within sight in parks or playgrounds is possible for most. This however is often limited to a few hours rather than whole days of playing and exploring.  It’s sad that the fear of danger should be so prevailing.

My memories of childhood play also involved lots of fresh air. I was born and grew up in Kenya on the coast. I swam in the sea every day, played on the beach making miniature villages and sand sculptures of strange and sinuous shapes which I said I would make into big concrete sculptures to play on and in “when I grow up” I climbed trees, collected wild animals (small ones!) gathered coconuts and made up lots and lots of stories to tell my younger sister.

The next question asked of the group was “Do you use any of the things you did whilst playing as part of your business now?”

I certainly do – children having fun and playing, especially imaginative play, is very much a part of Fairytale Children’s Furniture®. We Tweet daily and post to our FaceBook pages weekly and produce a monthly video on ways to have fun with children, and of course stories still play a big part. Every piece of furniture will always have its own accompanying illustrated story book.

So, may I ask you – what did you do for fun when you were a kid?

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK