Take Her To The Moon For Me (aka Creative Play)

Creativity, what’s that about? When you think of creativity and kids, I bet your mind goes to Wizkid, Ugo Monye etc. Well, you’d be wrong. Guys, we know that Education in Nigeria is quite rigid: structured learning, defined educational goals (who came 1st, 2nd). We stifle Creativity and Individuality. And that’s why the average Nigerian goes abroad and becomes good drone workers no creative problem-solving skills or imagination. Our Nigerian educational system is not going to produce an Elon Musk (whom is South African). But that’s where you, the parent, comes in. You have so much power in your hands to expand your child’s horizons using creative play. Here are these examples.

Spud, aged 3 years: Astronomy, the Solar system and Constellations.
Our nanny and Spud came in, one night. It was a clear night and she was mesmerised by how big and bright the Moon looked. She kept asking questions about the stars. So the next day, I grabbed some Modelling clay, some paint and cardboard. Spud and I built a model of the Solar system. We used a cookie cutter for her to stamp stars on our cardboard. I then explained the planets and names. I used a colander and torch to show how the stars moved in space. Then we looked at pictures of the planets and stars. Spud built a small rocket (“it’s a triangle and cylinder, Mummy”) and flew it all over the solar system (don’t worry, she made it back in time for dinner, lol). We are getting our first proper telescope so we can take a good look at what we’re learning.

Our modelling clay Solar system. Tiny fingers had smudged it up by now


Uyi, aged 2 plus years: Play food, Nutrition and Organisation.

We always liked watching Food Network with Uyi, but I didn’t know it was sinking in until we got her playdough and a cheap cooking set and madam got to work! Since I wanted her to eat better (less Indomie, more Vegetables and fruits), I went to look for some play food. I found some wooden play food (over N6000 and out of my budget) and some plastic ones (they were cheap but the basics) and no variety, so I sewed some. It took me 2 hours in front of the tv (really simple). I made a sandwich set, then I’m going to make a sushi set, a salad set and some more. Healthy food choices she can role play with and arrange Plus, Uyi’s dad lived in Japan for a while so we incorporated learning about sushi and other food groups into Geography and Cuisines of other countries.

 

DIY play food
More play food. Copyright: Pinterest

Spud, aged 3 years, Construction, Engineering, Dexterity and Shape identification.
I brought out some of her building blocks and started building a bridge. Spud joined in and then suddenly, an ant decided to cross our bridge. Ore, Spud went hyper! See the speed with which she finished the bridge, you’d have thought it was the Fourth Mainland Bridge (Spud for Nigerian President 2019!). We then looked at pictures of bridges on my phone, to reinforce the lesson.

Our Melissa and Doug building blocks at work


Toni, aged 3 and a half years, Role Playing and Biology
Toni hates going to the doctor. Open your mouth so they can check, fight. Take temperature, fight. Sit for examination, tantrum and meltdown. It was exhausting. But Joy and I talked things over and she said her daughter was like that till she got a doctor’s kit. So we got one and luckily my inLaw is a Dr in training. It stopped all our crying and she now gives the nurses injections too. Even better,we are building a small scale DIY Lung experiment, so she can see how Lungs and breathing works, what happens to air in her body etc.

A doctor kit we use
There you have it. I assure you, almost all of these are not taught in most classrooms in schools in Lagos, Abuja, etc. You have to try taking some time out to do some structured play, you and your kids will love it. And learn so much more from it.
Until next time, adios.

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