South Africa has a long winter school holiday over July, when the harshest, cold weather is usually at its peak. With SA’s third wave of the pandemic on the rise and more lockdown restrictions, families are mostly planning to batten down the hatches at home. That’s going to be a particular challenge for parents of pre-schoolers who have to adapt to a homebound, indoor existence. Having your little one home for the entire holidays can be daunting when the opportunities to ramble and play outside are so limited, and many parents are wondering how they are going to cope.
Award-winning early childhood education specialists, Play Sense are coming to the rescue this winter with a free four-week holiday platform, Play Box, which will guide South African parents and their pre-schoolers through an enriching, connected time. The winter holiday program, aimed at two- to four-year-olds is easily accessible on-line, so parents around the country can sign up and tap into an array of professionally developed resources that will give them structure for their day and loads of fun content.
“The winter holiday program artfully blends on and off-line so parents can choose what works best for them,” says Play Sense CEO and Co-founder, Meg Faure. “Each holiday week has a lovely learning theme, and every day there are two fresh activities that ignite imaginations and enable sensory play, which is so important for this age group. We have also included optional zoom sessions with our best-loved online teachers who are experts at engaging interactively with little ones on-screen.”
The beauty of Play Box is that parents are empowered to proactively share in their child’s development, and it gives them unique opportunities to experience their child learning through play like they do in their pre-school environments. Lara Schoenfeld, Play Sense’s Co-founder and Director of Education says, “It’s a simple, straightforward way for parents to access early childhood education content this holiday. It’s a simple free registration to Play Box with no need to access any additional platforms or go through a range of logins. It’s so interesting for parents to get these first-hand insights into how their child responds to different learning materials and activities, and the whole experience fosters deep parent-child bonds.”
Play Sense is a SA trailblazer of a unique home environment micro-playschool model based on the development of super-skills, such as creativity, self-regulation and executive function, through imaginary play. Play Sense learning programs are developed by occupational therapists and qualified pre-school educators to meet the specific needs of toddlers, who are arguably, in the most exciting development stage of human life. Play Sense offers both off and on-line playschool programs and are adept at getting the best out of both high-touch and high-tech.
“What many parents will appreciate in the Play Box holiday program is that it gives them a structure,” says Faure. “Week by week they will journey through the fun worlds of the Jungle, MyTown, Dinosaurs and Bugs. This is the answer to parents wondering what they are going to do to keep their little ones occupied. As parents ourselves, we know how to make it easy for others to access well-developed activities and to be smoothly guided through a learning by play experience. The real spin-off benefit is that your child is going to delight at connecting with you this way, and day by day, your heart will fill up as you see how you are making a wonderful difference for your child.”
Here are some activities you and your little one can expect from Play Box this school holiday:
Imaginary play ignites your child’s language, social and emotional skills development
The Jungle-theme week includes going on a safari. Using language and props that are easily found around the house your toddler will be engaged in an imagined scenario. Imaginary play is one of the most powerful ways toddlers learn, and by facilitating this activity, parents will improve their skills to facilitate other fun games to play with your child around the house.
Sensory play develops your child’s motor skills, cognitive reasoning, language, creativity, and imagination
The Bug-theme week includes creating the amazing butterfly lifecycle using play dough, one of Play Sense’s favourite toys. This extra sensory activity will spark other ideas of the magical worlds and scenarios you can create together at home using simple and inexpensive materials.
Creative play encourages your child’s cognitive and language development, as well as motor skills
The My Town-theme week will explore different human roles and includes engrossing art activities. Your toddler’s creative activities from working with paint to create pictures to building Lego walls is more about the creative process than the end product.
Movement play develops your child’s language and gross motor skills while having so much fun
The Dinosaurs-theme week includes lots of enriching music and movement play. Movement play activities are not only designed to develop your little one’s body sense but is perfect for setting off fits of giggles and having silly fun together.