At a time when lockdown is a buzz word and “stay at home” is a hashtag it is no surprise that parents of kids in South Africa had to plan or improvise in a hurry! There wasn’t much time to shop and for those who had the time, and the means, could choose from a large variety of options. What did they buy (or scratch out of storage) you may be wondering?
Interest in our online collection carefully put together for our customers gave some clues but mostly we learned the answer to this question from parents all over the world sharing their ideas and images on social media with other desperate parents during one of the strictest lockdowns ever recorded. If one were to keep in mind that not all homes could support or even contain something as exciting as a new trampoline or jungle gym, swing-ball set or basketball hoop, what did parents out there opt for? What works for a flat or free-standing home alike and what works in warm or wet weather?
The answer is simpler than one would think…
Board games, and we’re including puzzles here, seem to come out tops this time and mostly those titles reminiscent of our own childhoods. Monopoly, Cluedo and UNO are firm favourites. Reasons for these choices may vary but we believe it has to do with the timelessness of the games but also their simplicity in nature. This allows all members of the family to play either as individuals or in teams. Add Scrabble to the mix and it could be argued that all these favourites also boast an element of learning and education. Because most kids and young-minded adults know these games, they lend themselves to creative and exciting new rules unique to each family. Add a speed element or a prize for the winner and you could have a small riot on your hands but the excitement and quality time is priceless!
Construction toys require mention here too. Lego accounts for hours of entertainment and is often used to promote “alone” play whilst parents, single or married, scramble for time and space to prepare meals or work from home. This is the one feature, and benefit, that a board or card game does not afford the “lockdown” parent. There are however many dads who find it difficult (or impossible) to pass on by the Lego mat or table. They passionately argue, and they would be correct, that playing Legos with the kids affords too many teachable moments and conversational pieces between the generations to pass up.
This piece would not be complete without at least mentioning the educational value, sense of completion, satisfaction and sheer minutes and seconds well spent with art and craft materials. Some may not concur as supervision will be key for parents of young kids. It is unlikely to free up much time for mom to tick anything off her to-do list but the likes of slime or play dough fall into this category as well. Little minds will be working overtime as will “fingers-in-training” with fine-motor skills getting a boost at a time when gross motor development is at an all time low. For older kids the options are almost endless! With Easter on our doorstep there is much indoor making, baking and crafting that could have this festive holiday a home-made affair this year!