When I need to buy a present for a kid aged 0 – 7 years old, I inevitably end up looking at Little Llama’s website.
Founded by Dave, working in education, and Joan, a Speech and Language Therapist keen on curating the best toys for children, I have been impressed with the concept of open-ended play that the toys offer.
Put simply, open-ended play is when you make an object anything you want it to be. A couple wooden blocks could become building, trees in a forest, a robot, humans in a convention, you get the idea.
That sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it?
However, what Little Llama offers is a more bespoke experience, especially for infants and toddlers where they might be susceptible in swallowing wooden blocks or Lego.
Featured in The Straits Times, and many other parenting blogs and websites are their extensive catalogue of products, ranging from the super fun Moluk series to the Plui Rain Cloud that’s a hit with little ones during bath time.
The Jellycat Read and Play book and soft toy sets, suitable for 2 – 4 year olds, also offers a multi-sensory experience that will make bedtime something to look forward to.
And because this is sounding too much like a sponsored advertorial, which it isn’t, here are some ways you can engage your child in open-ended play.
If you are a parent on a budget, instead of saving up for that Frozen 2 Lego set, why not buy some clay or dough, or just give the kid some coloured pencils and paper?
You’d be surprised what they can come up with.
I know, cos I once had a child where I just gave him A4 paper during break time. And one day it was a gun. One day it was an origami bird we made together. Another time, he drew a house and his family.
The best part of it is?
There are no limitations and you don’t need to give any instructions.
It sounds counterintuitive, but I bet for the majority of us, that’s how we grew up with. With simple toys and lots of fun.
Why don’t you try a little open-ended play together with your child, draw something on that blank sheet of paper side by side with your kid for just 5 minutes and see what incredible things might result?