Tag Archives: Homeschool Tips

Brighter and Happier Kids: The Power of Creative Play

Creative play is one of the most important facets of learning. It helps young learners develop a strong appreciation for learning while it prepares them for more complex lessons in the future. In learning, everything begins with love and appreciation, never with fear and intimidation. Creative play is a process that allows kids to use sensory experiences to discover things, develop math skills by playing with patterns and shapes, as well as encourage communication skills. Homeschooling gives kids an environment where they can freely explore and focus on their own interests. They hone their skills at their own pace and communicate their questions directly to their parents and other adults around them. Homeschooling and creative play are integrated, and this is why there is a huge success rate for homeschoolers and unschoolers around the world.

creative play using oli's boxship
Can’t wait to see them grow!

One of the challenges of homeschooling is putting together materials you need for creative play. Yes, it’s easy to go to the store and load up on art and other creative materials (I can do this all day!), but conceptualizing projects for creative play is a totally different story. There are many things to consider like age — so you can create age-appropriate activities, the safety and quality of materials, and making sure you never get near the shores of boredom. Creative play has to be a good mix of fun and learning. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is. However, it is one of the most fulfilling activities you can do at home with your young ones.

apron coloring
First, she makes her apron from Oli’s Boxship colorful.

Some of the exciting things we’ve done include making paper planes, boats, and all sorts of vehicles with imaginary engines; all kinds of fun and colorful jewelry; room designs; and we’ve also done fun science experiments like volcano eruptions (thanks to the very magical baking soda) and lava lamps. Attika loves making slimes and she has experimented on different kinds with colors, scents and whatnot. We have also planted seeds and herbs, of which some sadly didn’t survive — but hey, there’s also a lot of learning that goes into that experience, too.

And talking about growing things…

My daughter and I were recently talking about Christmas. We were thinking about the presents we wanted to give, and ones we secretly wanted to receive this year. A few days later,  we got through mail what we would consider our first and very early Christmas gift — the Farmer’s Garden from Oli’s Boxship!

An early Christmas gift from Oli! It’s one box that offers a lot of activities.

Meet Oli’s Boxship and Why This Box is Full of Wonders

oli's boxship materials, creative play project
Creative play using materials from Oli’s Boxship offers convenience to parents and teachers.

Oli’s Boxship is a one-of-its-kind subscription for creative play. Truth be told, parents don’t always have the energy to put together materials for creative play. There’s always that kilometric list of chores and things to do following us around. We have been homeschooling for many years now, and although the effort is so much lesser now that Attika is eight years old and has become more independent, I can’t help but recall the challenges we had when she was still very young. When I discovered Oli’s Boxship, I knew it would send a lot of parents cartwheeling. Oli’s Boxship has different themes like Galactic Galaxy, Animal Kingdom, Color My World and many more. Oli’s Boxship is delivered to your doorstep with your kid’s name on it. It’s like receiving a Christmas gift every month, only it’s from Oli, not Santa.

The one thing that I love about Oli’s Boxship is the convenience of not having to worry about what to do for the day if you were not able to prepare anything. You simply open the box and begin a new discovery. It is also a great way to move them away from gadgets and get them busy with things they can really learn from. Oli’s Boxship encourages interaction among family members and that means everyone is communicating and doing something together while having fun. I personally love the quality of the materials inside the box. Nothing in the entire package goes to waste. The Farmer’s Garden box, for instance, serves as a pretty planter holder for the alfalfa and radish sprouts that Attika got from Oli.

I love Oli’s Boxship because it’s fun to do! I also really like the part where I discover what’s in the box. Now, I’m just going to wait for my plants to grow and I can’t wait! ~ Attika

Now we wait for her new babies to grow.

Why Creative Play Makes Kids Happy and More Intelligent

Creative play benefits children in a lot of ways. Science has not shied away from admitting that there are cognitive advantages to letting kids explore. After all, exploration is a kind of investigation, and we know that it is the curious mind that benefits more from this world. As a mom, I love it that creative play strengthens the bond between the parents and their children. Singing together, reading to them, counting with them, positively interacting with them all point to kids who are spending no less than quality time with their parents.

Here are some of the benefits of creative play:

It fosters emotional strength.  Children love to express their emotions and providing a positive outlet for them makes them feel secure. Studies say that emotionally strong people come from families who have a loving, supportive environment at home where someone readily listens and interacts with then. This feeling of security will also lead the way for creative expression later on.

It helps develop math skills. Counting, reading and writing numbers, classifying, studying patterns and shapes all help in building foundational skills in Mathematics. Learning through play also significantly reduces the fear in numbers.

It develops communication skills. When children are presented with materials, they describe orally what they’re seeing and, in turn, their vocabulary is expanded. It impacts their language centers.

It hones motor skills. Activities such as cutting, drawing, folding and pasting refine motor skills in children. Art helps them practice their skills in hand control, which may be challenging for them at first.

It develops self-esteem. When children create something new they realize that they have the ability to create something unique that no one has thought of before. They are also given the opportunity to receive compliments.

When you give children a venue for fun and creative learning, you help them develop skills that they will need later on in their lives. You also move them away from the virtual world that we know is very detrimental to their cognitive development.

So why are kids indulged in creative play happier? It is because they get to spend time with people who are important to them. They explore new worlds in a safe environment. Art helps them express their feeling and thoughts, and this process of self-expression is essential to their growing up years and throughout their adult life.

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college — that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?” ~ Howard Ikemoto

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Using Media to Enhance Homeschool Curriculum

We are the only people we know who are not subscribed to a cable service, or who do not watch television. For some reason, people find that “strange” about us. When asked why, and believe me, we often get asked WHYYYY, Alex and I tell them that we don’t want our kids’ frontal lobes fried. Kidding aside, we don’t want our kids’ frontal lobes fried.

More than that, we don’t enjoy advertising companies telling our kids that it is perfectly fine to drink powdered juice with aspartame or that too much sugar and instant food are okay.

When you leave your kids to watch television it leaves you little control of the language, ideas and concepts that are presented to them.

Using Media to Enhance Homeschool Curriculum

This does not mean though that we are detached from media. As a matter of fact, we enjoy using media to enhance homeschool curriculum. We have quite an obsession with movies, science videos and short films. Alex dedicates a huge portion of his time reviewing films and videos so he has a database where we pull out our family-friendly movies that inspire and stimulate learning. You can’t blindly rely on films labeled ‘child-friendly’ as some of them have themes your child may not yet be ready for. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to be mindful of the exposure of your kids to films, music, literary work and the like.

I am happy to partner with PureFlix and their Homeschool Curriculum Movie Resources where they find you help the right content to help you enhance your child’s education by using media to enhance homeschool curriculum. Find my tips below.

Photo courtesy of Pureflix