Whether your little one hasn’t yet celebrated their first birthday or they’re planning for their first day at nursery, it goes without saying that they’ve been raised during one of the most isolated times in recent history. Unfortunately, having grown up during the lockdowns caused by the global pandemic, or at least during the ‘new normal’ that followed, they haven’t had the same social experiences that children born pre-2020 had the benefit of.
Now more than ever, time to socialise and play with other children their age is crucial. Playday, which takes place on Wednesday 3 rd August, recognises the need to let children socialise with children their own age. The theme of this year’s global campaign is ‘all to play for – building play opportunities for all children’ and aims to highlight that play is for everyone.
Essentially – and this is something we’re real advocates for at Bloom Baby Classes – play is vital for children and young people’s physical and mental health.
But why is that? Well, in a nutshell:
Play allows children and young people to make friends, develop relationships, and have fun together.
Play enables children and young people to feel connected to their communities, leading to happier leading to greater levels of happiness for all.
Play has an important role in helping children and young people cope with stress and anxiety, deal with challenges, and make sense of what’s happening around them.
At our sessions, we encourage children from as young as just a few weeks old to spend time with other little ones – it’s time for them to bond and share in special milestones with other children the same age as them. But how can you encourage play at home, or when you’re out and about, when you’re not at your weekly Bloom Baby session?
Here are a few ideas for you.
Babies and toddlers love playing with water – in the bath, paddling pool or just using the sink or a plastic bowl. Invite friends with little ones over for a low-cost water party in the garden – use plastic bottles for pouring and squirting each other, plastic tubing, a sponge, a colander, straws, a funnel, spoons and anything else that’s unbreakable. But it goes without saying that you should never leave a young child alone in the bath or playing with water. A baby or young child can drown in less than five centimetres of water.
Start a baby book club
You can start looking at books with your baby from an early age – it will help them with their future learning. The time spent sharing books with your baby also allows you to bond with them and is good for emotional wellbeing. But reading also provides a great social activity. Meet other mums in the local cafe and read out loud to all of your children. Or perhaps check your local library for story time hours – most community libraries offer these for free, and they are suitable for children of all ages.
Provided you don’t feel too silly getting involved in a singalong with other local mums, gather at the park or at one of your houses and pop on some singalong nursery rhymes. For older children, lyrics can often be found online so they can follow along with their friends.