Being a grandmother brings back memories of time spent with my own sons when they were preschoolers. Then, as now, time was more plentiful than money; however, being forced to be creative in our playtime was, and still is, a good thing. Especially with an unfavorable economic situation, parents and grandparents are sharing tips that have worked for them as they help their children enjoy life without spending much money.
Children love to work with their hands. Give a child time to play in a sand pile with old margarine tubs, kitchen utensils (sifters, spoons, etc.) and he can create anything – forts, farms, trains, churches, or just plain mud pies.
When my children were small, unless we had to go somewhere, I didn’t worry about them getting dirty. On nice warm days, they could water the dirt and have extra fun with mud. This kind of play is not only fun; it also develops small muscle coordination and imagination. Playing outside makes them more aware of all the good things God has created for them to enjoy.
Just as children love to play in dirt and sand, they enjoy play dough or clay. I found homemade play dough lasted much longer than the purchased kind. They simply used cookie cutters and plastic items with the play dough.
A lot of throw away items hold charm for a child: old clothes, bits of wood (with no splinters), old wooden spools, spray can tops, plastic bottles (not pill bottles), and boxes of all sizes. Uses are limited only to the imagination of the child. Children love to create something of their own. One of my grandsons is especially good at making something out of practically nothing. I am always looking forward to seeing what he has created.
Most important of all is time a parent or grandparent spends playing with his child. What a child wants and needs is the love and companionship of his parents. I am so proud of my sons and their wives as they are taking advantage of every minute they have with their young children, recognizing that time with them is precious.
Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children (Proverbs 17:6 NLT).