"Imagine" the perfect gift
Our “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” unit proved to be one of the best weeks in GoPlay! history. Curiously, our preparation for the week included the elimination of many of our toys. Because Florida is not typically “cold”, we used a great deal of imagination. We traded out hula hoops and balls for paper plates and crumpled up copy paper. With plenty of staff enthusiasm and a few props, the children experienced a snowball fight and ice skating. They became reindeer jumping over chimneys, made igloos, and went ice fishing.
During this week before Christmas break, the children at GoPlay! seemed to be happier than ever. Their parents, however, seemed more stressed. Could it be holiday shopping?
There is no doubt that preschoolers “want” everything they see. This is normal; preschool children have a hard time controlling their desires and impulses, not to mention understanding the concept of delayed gratification. And we, as adults, are convinced that children won’t be happy without the latest gadget or gizmo, even though, deep down, we know that money and things don't provide happiness. But if this last week is any indication, we at Go Play! are finding that the best gift you can give your children is play time. How much more beneficial would it be if instead of ordering the latest toy or signing children up for another activity, we scheduled time to play, imagine or even to do nothing together. Time together may be worth more than all the toys, high-tech gadgets and other stuff we may think makes them happy. Make a card table tent, pretend to ski using the old wrapping paper tubes, or just snuggle up and read books. And on Christmas morning, those same children might be surprised and grateful, even if they didn't get all they wanted, instead of just taking inventory. The disappointment they may express over not getting one toy or another will last only as long as it takes to move onto the next fun holiday activity.
So, do you want to go ice skating with paper plates?