With a million-and-one jobs to do ahead of the busy Christmas season it's been a time for very familiar refrains with our kids: "you've got a room full of toys" and "find something to do." I remember it growing up and it stays with me to this day. It sounds like tough love, but I knew it was what I needed to hear even from a young age.
The truth is at this time of year, it's often something we say because we need the time back to get things done in preparation for going away, seeing family, wrapping presents etc. But it can often come with a lot of guilt. As if what children need is you to be a constant entertainer and that if you're not there to be that, you're failing. I wrote some more about this here if you fancy a read.
But the reality is, creating is always harder than consuming. The encouragement to go and play is an encouragement to be a creator of fun, rather than just a consumer. There's a place for both of course, but even in adult life it is a constant tug of war. It's easier to read a book than write in a journal, eat a takeaway rather than cook a meal, sit on old muscles rather than work out new ones.
So as we look forward to a time of rest, time as a family, having fun, playing games and making memories together in the weeks ahead, we're reminding ourselves that it is not just 'okay' to let your kids get on independently, wander or just be 'bored'. We're taking time back in the knowledge that it's also doing them good.
This week: life-size DIY toys, baby sensory play tips and some peak 90s Christmas nostalgia.
In a London flat where space is tight, 'life-size' toys is a phrase to turn your blood to ice. But these modular toys from Modu are just so damn cool. And the fact they're very much DIY means they take up less space than you might think and your kids get endless opportunities to re-imagine them into the adventures they want.
A little more conversation
Dinner time is family time at GRASP, but there are times when you're struggling to get a word in edgeways and a little bit of space and time to connect is needed. Our friends at Hackney Bridge (where GRASP HQ is located) in Hackney Wick are running great kids activity tables this Sunday so you can enjoy just that. Plus there's plenty of semi-outdoors space so you can feel a little less Covid concerned.
Helping them make sense
What does great play look like for young children? Before they can be told to go and play, there's still a vast difference between active and passive play. Here's our breakdown of the best in baby sensory play that gets kids active in mind and body from day 1.
The house that kids built
Okay, so maybe we got carried away with the northern European inspired toys, but we discovered these recently and they look brilliant. We asked, and they're not available in the UK yet, but we reckon some Christmas cardboard and some scissors could get you well the way to imitating the design.
And finally... a 🔥 nostalgia top 10
There's no real reason for this other than it being Christmas and if you can't have a healthy dose of nostalgia at Christmas reflecting back on when you were a kid, who even are you! This might be the strongest chart top 10 ever - prove us wrong.