The Value of Active Play
Early child development research shows that young children learn best through active play experiences. This is one of the primary reasons why The Elephant’s Trunk puts so much effort into the selection of the toys we carry. As a specialty toy store that truly cares about the health of your children and family, we only select the highest quality toys and playthings available.
During the year our staff meets with manufactures and the representatives to discuss the product features, play value, and product safety of thousands of current and new products. The Elephant’s Trunk staff focuses on the age and development level of each product so that you, the consumer, will have the information you deserve to make an informed decision on what is best for your child.
In addition to the above criteria, The Elephant’s Trunk staff also measures the overall quality of a toy by asking a multitude of questions, such as: Does it encourage exploration and discovery, provide opportunity to solve problems creatively, and inspire imaginative play? Is there room to develop social connections or does the toy lean more towards isolation? Is it limited with a single-purpose? Is it linked to a specific media promotion and/or does it encourage violence without any purpose? If you ever have a question about the play value of a particular item, please bring it to the attention of a staff member.
In addition to the importance of selecting healthy toys and playthings, one of the most positive ways to support a child’s early development is by strengthening the parent –child bond through communication. The specific communication activity can be whatever is most comfortable for you and your child. The key is to be in an environment where a child knows that they are truly being listened to.
With so many external influences, distractions (cell phone, computer, and TV for example), and time limitations, it may be helpful to consciously set aside specific time, on a regular basis, to focus your attention on each child in your life. This can be accomplished in a multitude of ways, such as: reading a story, preparing/eating a meal, playing a game, engaging in pretend play, or simply going for a walk.
Child development research has shown that the quality of the time spent with a child is more important than the quantity. These types of interactions will encourage a sense of trust and security. Securely attached parent-child relationships enhance a child’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being and provide the confidence to explore and experience life.
The summer months are a great time to come together as a family and make a commitment to outdoor play. The Elephant’s Trunk has a wide range of games and activities that are sure to capture your child’s enthusiasm, and also promote physical, emotional, and social growth. Some of our favorites are: Sidewalk chalk, sand art, painting supplies & materials, kite flying, hula hoops, yo-yo’s, balloon games, street games, jump rope games, pogo sticks, chase & flee games, and throwing & catching games.
The summer months are often filled with long hot days. Children, no longer in the scheduled routine of the school year, must find activities that capture their interest for long stretches of time. Even with a good night sleep, children are often left with 12-14 hours of time that must be occupied on any given day.
Creating a family media plan to balance these long stretches of time will be beneficial to the health and well-being of the children and adults in your family. The Center on Media and Child Health, www.cmch.tv, is an outstanding resource for help in creating a family media plan.
CMCH offers the following information: Design a plan that uniquely fits your families summer goals: Prioritize outdoor activities, set screen-time limits, find non-media activities, consider your child’s age & stage, inspire a passion for summer reading. What we feed children’s minds is as important as what we feed their bodies. Teach children to develop a healthy media diet, and engage them in the process of thinking about the media they use, rather than passively consuming it.
Come into Elephant’s Trunk today to discover wonderful toys, games and materials to make your summer fun spectacular!