Last Friday I had the opportunity to go to a bloggy thing at London Zoo. I’ve never done one of these before and I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to take my 4 year-old daughter with me and while we were do the ‘grown-up’ stuff, she was taken very good care of by some children’s entertainers who had more energy in their little fingers than I display in a month. They kept in character throughout, even when we said goodbye, which left we wondering if they were like that all the time…? Good God, I do hope not ;-/
Anyway, the event was run by Bounty and Maynards and was about the psychology of children – the positive effect play and discovery can have on them. I was really impressed with how it was run; in small groups we moved around different areas which included:
The magical cave of Myths and Monsters
This demonstrated how important storytelling is to feed and expand the imagination (mine as well as the kids!)
The Doctor’s surgery of body bits
Using objects to play games like ‘Guess the Object’ (blindfolded) or hide and seek with something (my daughter loves it when I hide her teddy around the house)
The safari animals
Acting out animals thought movement, noise and description. My group is the one in the photo but fortunately I was not the one who had to pretend to be a squirrel!
The Explore and Play app
This is the free app which gives children factual information about the different topics after you have found them by scanning around your room. My kids enjoyed playing on this when we got home, especially my nine-year old!
It was well-organised and all the demonstrators were great fun. The most pertinent comment one of them made (she with the plaits in the photo) was the look on our faces when we described the ‘shows’ we used to do for our parents. It made me realise how much I had enjoyed doing them and the fact that we could all remember doing shows/dressing up/dances for our parents with our faces lit up with memories, spoke volumes.
I know for a fact I don’t play with my kids as much as I should. Partly due to screens, partly due to time constraints and partly due to energy. I have three kids and I work. They play together and I am usually exhausted. But when I make the effort to play with them, make up games in the car, do an activity with them, it is not only the pleasure of doing it that rewards me but the knowledge that they are making memories. I feel that kids of today are so ‘spoon-fed’ that they are losing independent thought and inquisition. I see it when I teach as well as kids I see socially. It is not down to spoiling them (although we often do) but more about the fact that everything is instant for them. They want an answer, they google it. They want to know how something works, go to YouTube. They are raised in a world of instant gratification and no longer strive to explore and discover. Little kids do, and this is what we need to nurture.
*gets down off orange box*
After all the fun we got free rein to go around London Zoo. It was so lovely, just me and H. She starts school in September and I have vowed to spend my day off each week making the most of her. We had particular fun in the butterfly house where, despite the man saying they never land on people, three of them landed on me and the biggest moth in the world landed on my leg. I smiled broadly but I think the look of bug-terror gave me away. H loved it, she had glass wings landing on her finger which attracted her an audience (never one to shy away, my daughter). Then we strolled through Regents Park back to the tube to head home. It was just lovely. So a big thank you to Maynards from me and H.
By the way, if any of you know the blog/twitter of the pregnant lady in the photos with the white top (her name was Vita) could you let me know?