Every Educaid - an interview with Sarah on play and why it is imporant

A chat with Sarah of Every Educaid all about play, why it’s important, how to encourage it and what toys parents should invest in to promote their children’s development and independent play. She also gave us a little insight into why your child’s boredom is actually your friend

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Logan Whitelaw August 29, 2022

7 min read

Every Educaid - an interview with Sarah on play and why it is imporant

Today on the blog we are excited to share a chat we had with Sarah of Every Educaid all about play, why it’s important, how to encourage it and what toys parents should invest in to promote their children’s development and independent play. She also gave us a little insight into why your child’s boredom is actually your friend…

Can you tell us how Every Educaid came about and its ethos?

“Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning.” -Diane Ackerman

We passionately believe that hands-on learning gives children the best start in life. Play is a critical component of this; it’s the heart of our business and permeates everything we do.

Play is a child’s work!

We aim to support parents and teachers to create beautiful calm environments that act as the third teacher and allow children to play independently and create their learning.

Every Educaid is now providing educational playthings for a third generation of New Zealand families!

child playing with wooden rianbow

What is your philosophy of play? How is it different from all the messages parents are bombarded with so often?

The simpler the toy, the more complex the play.

We believe that less is more and that open-ended play resources allow children to use their imagination and their 100 languages.

childs bedroom with grimns wooden toys on a small stepstool

An excerpt from: 100 languages by Loris Malaguzzi

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinkin
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marvelling of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.

What advice would you give a new Parent who feels overwhelmed with where to start their child’s learning journey?

Set up your environment to encourage independent play! The environment acts as the third teacher, and you are their first and best teacher.

Keep it simple, only offer a handful of options and make sure they are beautifully displayed and can be accessed and cleaned away independently (with a bit of help at first)!

Observe what your child is interested in and enjoys playing with, and think about how you could extend this.

Rotate play resources every few weeks, keeping out what is still being enjoyed and adding new elements to explore or extend the play. Allow space and time for play to unfold. Boredom is your friend. It’s the sweet spot where imagination kicks in!

child playing with small wooden toy

If a caregiver wanted to invest in a few beautiful, good-quality pieces for the first five years, what would you suggest, and what are essential things to look when choosing toys?

Blocks

If there is only one toy you buy your child, make it a beautiful set of blocks. These open-ended play resources can be used by all ages and allow children to experiment with design, architecture, engineering, maths, and imaginative play. Start with a simple set of cube-shaped blocks and progress to a set with a variety of more complex shapes and size. We have a vast range of gorgeous Grimm's wooden block sets to choose from

Small World Play

The perfect add on to a set of blocks. Cars, roads , animals , and figures enable children to act out what is familiar to them from their own life experiences. Great for imaginative play and storytelling.

Pretend Play

Dolls , kitchen sets and dress ups also enable children to act out past and present experiences. Dress ups can be as simple as an oversized scarf that can become a cape, or a doll wearing wrap. Providing a doll, a basket, a doll’s nappy and a small cloth to wrap the beauty in before a new sibling is born can help a child practice gentle care of their baby before the new baby arrives!

wooden toys on table

Loose Parts

Simple open-ended play resources that allow children to use their imagination. These ‘thinky toys’ are pure play gold! Our Grapat range offers the most beautiful handmade wooden loose parts for all ages and can be added to with loose parts from nature (sticks, stones, shells, flowers and leaves) and upcycled loose pieces (bottle tops, boxes, cans, bits of fabric, buttons, corks and so on).

Sensory Play

A great way to calm a child or wind down at the end of the day. You don’t need fancy equipment for this, but our tuff trays are a game changer by keeping the play contained!They’re perfect for water, ice, bubbles, playdough, gloop and paint.

Water play can come in many forms, from a warm bath at the end of the day to a paddling pool in the back garden, a bucket of soapy water to wash toys, bikes, and dolls outside, a hose or watering can to water the garden, a sprinkler to run through on a Summer day, or a bucket of water and an old paintbrush to make marks on the driveway.

What are some of your favourite simple activities parents can do at home?

Outdoor & Nature Play

Explore the wild spaces in the neighbourhood (parks, streams, beaches).

If the day turns to custard, get outside. Fresh air and nature seem to calm and invigorate both children and parents! It can be as simple as playing in a small patch of dirt under a tree or a puddle in the backyard or walking to the local park. Walks are as much about the journey as they are about the destination. You might spend half an hour investigating an ant trail on the footpath outside your gate or stroking the neighbour’s cat as it sleeps in a patch of sun and be happy to head home!

Nature gives us excellent loose parts for play too! Taking a small bag to collect nature finds is a good way for children to extend their interests when they get home. Sticks, stones, shells, and leaves can be collected and displayed in baskets or jars for craft, patterning, playdough and small worlds.

They might sort Autumn leaves by colour, size, or shape. Leaves can be used for threading, cut in half and used as puzzle pieces for matching, hammered onto a cork board with small nails, woven through a bit of card with rubber bands over it. Egg cartons make great sorting trays and treasure holders!

watering can sprinkling water in the garden

Library

Join your local library and visit each week. On foot, if possible, so children build a mental map of their neighbourhood.

Daily rhythms

Encourage children to be part of daily activities such as table setting, meal preparation, car washing, clothes folding, and getting dressed from an early age. Children like to work hard to perfect tasks and gain enormous skills and pride from their efforts.

child sitting at a table playing with wooden rainbow toy

Every Educaid provides resources for many of the beautiful centres around Aotearoa.

What are some exciting projects you have been working on recently?

Kakapo Creek Children’s Garden

Gaia Earth Forest Preschool

The Wilderness Early Learning Centre

All three are breathtakingly beautiful spaces surrounded by nature! Click on the links find out a bit more about each of these beautiful centres and book a visit on Kindello.

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