Young children, boys and girls, love camps - there's nothing better than a 'secret' place where they can hide from grown ups and feel inside a world of their own. As summer approaches, it becomes easier to build camps outdoors. Find a secluded spot in the garden and fashion some branches into a cover, or use an old sheet and drape it from the fence. You can even buy tents for next to nothing these days - the kids will go mad for that!
During colder months, and on days when the weather's not so good, you can build camps indoors. Erect your masterpiece in a spot where the children won't get in the way, bearing in mind that it may have to stay up for a few days! Use sheets or large towels, draped from furniture to radiators, or over clothes horses. Use clothes pegs to help secure your materials in place.
Young children love enclosed spaces in which to play. It really does become their own world set apart from the real one, and gives them a place that is theirs, where you cannot follow. They will quickly stockpile teddies, dinosaurs, dolls, tea sets, cars and all manner of kids' paraphernalia! Let them loose in their imaginative play, it's great for them to engage in pretend play, especially if they voice scenes between animals or teddies which helps them develop their language and thinking skills. Listen to them discretely from a distance and they will bring joy to your heart!
Children love to mimic what they see mummy and daddy doing, and when it comes to gadgets, they'll absorb the most current devices as if they've been around forever. No doubt you've collected your fair share of old telephones, mobile handsets, computer keyboards, remote controls for broken equipment, maybe even obsolete laptops?! All of these make for great 'accessories' for children to play with and will be highly favoured over play items because these are 'real' and ones that you used to use!
Before handing them over to the children, remove any old batteries just so that they can't leak, but then they're good to be used a play things.
It doesn't matter if an old computer keyboard isn't connected to anything, or that an old mobile phone doesn't have batteries in it and makes no noise. The fact that these are real devices makes them highly attractive to your young children, and being able to play with these items will encourage imaginative play between your little ones.
They can use a computer to do 'work' just like their mummy and daddy do; they can use redundant phone sets to call their friends and family; remote controls will just become gadgets that do something you hadn't even imagined yourself!
Nurturing familiarity with these objects at a young age will make them comfortable with real gadgets when they grow older - they won't be afraid to use phone handsets or computers because they won't be alien to them. Make sure that your children treat these redundant items as they would a working one - make sure they are gentle with them, never throw them, and put them in sensible places rather than leaving them lying in the middle of the floor. Having them treat these items with respect now will also instil that they need to treat real working gadgets with similar care later on.
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