Exploring Free Play- Fostering Imagination and Growth

As a Gen X parent, I never quite understood why we “had” to fill our kids afternoons and free time with 10,000 activities (sports, club meetings, scouting, etc.). My brother and I didn’t have tons of stuff each day after school. By the time I was in the 5th grade, both my parents worked, and frequently we were left home alone for a few hours after school a couple times a week.

We did our homework, played, read, and did chores. Even before that, there were plenty of times where we were home without structured activities. We still had scouts, soccer (my brother did AYSO for one season and decided it wasn’t for him), Key Club, Choir, JV Football. Many kids in my generation were latchkey kids and filled their afternoons with free and imaginative play.

Free play is an incredible learning tool for kids. It fosters imagination and gives kids opportunities to discover and explore. There are all sorts of toys that encourage free play- dolls, food toys, blocks, legos, to name a few.

My two love Playmobil. Playmobil is a German company that has been around since the 1970’s. They have so many different sets and types of toys- everything from princesses and fairies to knights and safari sets.

A jungle adventure after preschool. Complete with a feast

Recently, my son and daughter started pulling out some of their people as well as some of the animals and created their own adventure. Enter Carl the Mongoose and Mr. Chicken. Carl is a Meerkat, and Mr. Chicken is a Bald Eagle, but the names have stuck.  Other characters include The Birdkeeper and The Man with the Gray Hat, and Cleopatrick (my daughter named her). All of these people are from various sets, Cleo was the only one that sort of resembles her name, as she came from an awesome set of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

The animals and their people have all sorts of adventures. They have run a food truck, run a zoo, been on a cruise, gone on safari, hunted for wild animals, opened an iron and gold mine, run an orphanage (we have a lot of little kid Playmobil people), gone to college, gone to preschool, and taken a road trip to the “ocean” in Ohio. We paused the game for a bit to look at the US map to discover there is no ocean in Ohio, but they could go to Lake Erie instead. It was deemed the “Lake Erie ocean beach” adventure.

These adventures give the kids a chance to explore themselves and work on interpersonal relationships, even if it’s as a talking Bald Eagle and his keeper.

Even in these crazy times where nothing is certain, give your kids some time to play and explore. Taking a “brain break” (which is what the big kiddos teacher calls them) throughout the day for some playtime may help your kids more than you think.

Right now we are all home together, trying to scramble into some sort of routine of distance learning, being quiet while we all learn/work, breaks, and trying to play after school is over without making too much noise while grown ups work. It’s tough. It’s crazy. The house is messy, we’re frazzled, and we weren’t “with it” last week to follow our meal plan. But we got through it, and we’re trying again this week.

We’re all learning. And that means we should grant ourselves grace.

Be kind to yourself. Wash your paws, wear a mask, flatten the curve. Have a good week!

 

It’s Coming… Playmobil The Movie!!!

361183id3_STX_Playmobil_27x40_1Sheet_sRGB_Live[2].jpgMy kids about lost their damn minds when I showed them this trailer earlier this evening.

Both kids LOVE Playmobil toys. And I love them too.

Ok, for those who are thinking, “Huh.. What’s a Playmobil??” They are these awesome toys from Germany and they’ve been around since the mid-1970’s.

They come in all kinds of themes, including Vikings, Pirates, Ancient Egypt, and Zoo.

I’m so excited about taking the kids to see #PlaymobilTheMovie.

In PLAYMOBIL’s® animated action-adventure, a top-secret organization has caused citizens from different lands to vanish from thin air.  The dashing and charismatic secret agent Rex Dasher (Daniel Radcliffe) must partner with smooth-talking food truck driver Del (Jim Gaffigan) and Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) a smart, savvy civilian with her own secret agenda, to rescue them. Against unthinkable odds, the trio goes on a fantastic journey across stunning new worlds as they gather clues for their rescue mission.

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Bitty loves her Playmobil Doll House and can’t wait to take one of her “Play Ladies” to the movies soon!

We’ve got tons of sets, including this awesome Pyramid, treehouse, and dollhouse (Bitty received it for her most recent birthday). Even their Blind Bags are rad!

What I love about Playmobil is that they encourage creative play, and they are perfect for any kid, ages 3+.

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This is me as a “Play Lady” per Bitty

Each set, no matter how small, has tons of details and little accessories that make every playtime an adventure.  I mean, check out this awesome Advent Calendar. I may be getting this for the big kiddo.

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Close up of one the “the dudes” cooking

The closer to the release date we get, I hope to have more details to share…

 

Talk Back: What is your kids favorite toy that “unplugs” them from TV, tablets, etc?

 

#playmobilthemovie

 

Freebie Friday!

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Samples

 

Magazines

 

 

Freebie and Deal Time!

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I meant to post this on Friday, but I was distracted by Thanksgiving prep. There are a lot of really great freebies and deals right now.  I’ve compiled a bunch to share!

Let’s start with the Freebies:

Free Sample of belVita Biscuits at Walmart
Free Jimmy Dean Holiday Gift
Free Pepsi Zero Sugar or Diet Pepsi at 7-Eleven
Claim Your Free Sample Box for November
Free Sample of Universal Nutrition Shock Therapy & Storm Mass
Free Forto Coffee Shot at Walmart After Ibotta Rebate
Free Sample of Olay Regenerist Whips
Free Duracell Batteries at Office Depot & Office Max (perfect if you are buying holiday gifts that require batteries)
Free Organics Family Grass Kids Whey Powder
Free Sample of PooPeePads Dog Pads
Free Teadora Skincare & Hair Care Products
Free Sample of Canidae Pet Food
Checkout 51 – Free UltraFeel 2-in-1 Condom
Free Prevail Briefs, Pads or Liners Sample Pack
Free Candle-Lite Jar Candle at Kroger (I’m excited about this, I love candles!)

Deals- I’ve chosen Deals that would make great gifts:

Save 50% on Playmobil Rescue Ladder Unit ONLY $12.99 (Reg. $25)
Save 62% on Playmobil Doll House ONLY $25.95 (Reg. $63)
FREE Harrys Razor, Shaving Cream and Cover (pay $3 shopping- would make a great stocking stuffer)
Save 50% on Playmobil Hospital Play Box ONLY $9.99 (Reg. $20)
Versace Men’s Mini Cologne $5.50 Shipped – Stocking Stuffer
A Christmas Story Blu-ray DVD ONLY $7.99 (Reg. $19.98)
Beats Studio3 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones ONLY $199 (Reg $350)
Disney Princess Sparkling Dolls ONLY $39.99 (Reg. $65) Shipped