In this technological age there is no escaping screens and media. It is literally everywhere we go both inside the home and out…and will only be increasing. While new innovations in technology certainly make our lives easier, the downside is our children are now growing up with access to screens that I personally never had in my own childhood.
As both a researcher and a mum this is a huge concern for me. There are a multitude of scientific studies that show a loss of communication, cognitive development, imagination, movement and problem solving skills associated with increased screen-time in children. This research also extends to toys such as those with electronic features rather than our traditional toys. I am no angel when it comes to media use with our children, sometimes it is literally the only way I get a shower in the morning (hmm ok a shower maybe every second day!).
I am always on the lookout for new activities and ideas for the boys that do not involve screens but also are easy to do as a busy working mum. Recently, I received two giant boxes delivered to the front door by My Play Kit. Now before I go any further to receive anything at my front door is always helpful, but enormous boxes full of educational goodies for the boys now that is quite simply a godsend….and I can promise you what lay inside did not disappoint!
Firstly the boys had fun pushing the big boxes inside and trying to get into them. When they had worked this out (with a little help) there was just a flurry of activity as they pulled toy after toy out of the special bags – it was all so exciting! Both sets of toys were specifically designed for the boy’s different developmental stages; they did swap and take turns but it was great for them to have activities specific to their learning level.
I read research daily that discusses the importance of educational activities for opening up communication and interaction for children and with their parents. What I really loved about the toys and games in My Play Kit was they were all designed to encourage this. Our eldest son especially took to the doctor’s kit, he asked me to be his patient and if he could listen to my heart and give me some medicine, he then proceeded to this this with his brother who couldn’t stop laughing. This was even infectious for me – I often struggle to get excited about playing with blocks and cars but this was actually fun!
Both my boys also loved cutting the wooden fruit. Sahan, in particular his language is just developing, he has learnt to say ‘apple’ he took great delight in being able to point this out. This activity was something that both the boys interacted with together: “look mummy I am cutting an apple…would you like an orange? Look Sahan this is how you cut a banana”. It really was fun for the whole family, Dad got right in there too with a fishing game; Arjun said “it’s hard and tricky mummy but look I am doing it!”.
By the way don’t for a minute think that with two boys it was idyllic peaceful playing – there is always some fighting (pictured) but this is all part of them learning to work out how to play together (and also why I just need multiple coffees a day!).
To be really honest it has been just how much our boys have used the toys from My Play Kit since the boxes arrived. Our three year old has said repeatedly ‘I just love My Play Kit’ and ‘can we go home and play with My Play Kit’ even ‘can I take My Play Kit to bed? (yes but only two things!) and then he has not just played with the toys once but ongoing, in the bath and setting up his own play station – he almost never sits and plays like this so you really can’t get a better seal of approval! Likewise, our Smushie, who follows his big brother everywhere has got into his bag any chance he can!
My Play Kit works on a monthly subscription service so you get a new box of toys every four weeks – all without having to leave the house (#genius). A return packaging slip is included so it is all totally hassle free!
Cost? This is always something that is a consideration for us – paying for two children in daycare makes you think very carefully about anything extra but it’s less than a cup of coffee a day and you really get value for money with the toys which on their own would be very expensive and often forgotten about because they are not new, rather than getting a different set each month. I have to confess I have never taken the boys to the library or toy rental place. Doing the weekly food shop is about the level of trips we manage a week while working, unless it’s to the zoo, beach, park. So having access to such quality toys without needing to leave the house…well it’s improved technology working in a positive way for us!
I really cannot recommend My Play Kit enough. As a busy working mum this ticks so many boxes for me (excuse the pun) and most of all my boys love it hands down. We are all already excited by the thought of another box arriving next month!
xxx Dr Julie Bhosale