As a mother of two precious and energetic boys, I can honestly say without a doubt my house is testosterone driven. My boys are more assertive, physical and active than I remember my childhood household of sisters being. A lot is different, while a lot is the same. There is one thing I’m certain of…it’s definitely never dull or quiet in my home and throughout generations children will always love to play.

My kids love being outside, getting dirty, rough housing, running around nonstop with trucks, car, trains, shopping carts and even strollers. While they enjoy manipulatives, transportation and sporty toys like Lego’s, trains and balls; they also yearn to play with toys that foster nurturing and imaginative play. For this reason I say “my boys smell like cookies and dirt.” They enjoy riding their bikes just as much as loving on their baby doll. They are equally excited about building a giant tower as they are pretending to vacuum the house. And I’m okay with it!

It’s not a secret that kids love to play. To our little ones toys are fun and it’s definitely how they like to spend most of their time.  I’m thankful for our play room; it’s a place my kids burn what sometimes seems like endless energy, and it can keep them occupied for hours at a time.  What kids don’t know and some adults forget is that “just playing” is essential to a kid’s development because kids learn through play and every toy serves a purpose.

From rolling out play dough to building train tracks or putting together a puzzle to having a teddy bear picnic, all of these activities help a child build skills for later in life.  It’s important that as children grow they become well-rounded. If you are anything like me I hope my children make a difference, even if small in this great big world.  I hope my boys enjoy their careers and even more so are good dads some day. So it only makes sense to provide our kids with inspiration in their world by providing toys of all kinds no matter what gender.

Just like toys are more than just toys…a playroom is more than just a room. A child’s playroom is the space that inspires and directs their learning through play. A well organized and crafted play area sets the stage for interactive play. The following are the skills toddlers and preschoolers learn through play, paired toy options that lay down the foundations for a love of learning:

Problem solving and mathematics- This is where good old fashioned toys like blocks and puzzles come in handy. Blocks help children problem solve by constructing different structures that promote basic math concepts such as figuring out different shapes and sizes of the blocks and how they will fit together.

Gross and Fine Motor – Toys for gross motor skills will help the large muscles in their legs and arms that are used for running, jumping and other activities. While fine motor skills build the muscles in the hands that will be used for writing. Play can provide many opportunities to work on strengthening these muscles without your child even knowing it! The best activities for the development of fine motor skills are Stringing Beads or lacing. Your child can create a beautiful necklace while strengthening the fine motor muscles. Playing with balls are great for gross motor skills. It’s best to get outside and kick or throw a ball around.  This is also good for hand eye coordination!
Language and Vocabulary- Vehicles, Animals, Dollhouses and Dolls are awesome toys for speech and language development. Playing with vehicles like cars, trucks and trains or animals provides a platform to learn new vocabulary words. Children enjoy learning the names of each, what they do and even where they can be found. I love watching my boys play out scenarios with their animal figurines or vehicles.  Playing with a dollhouse or dolls offers a child the chance to reenact what happens in their world. Some times kids need to play out scenarios and change the ending. Not only helps with language but emotional development too.

Imagination and creativity- To foster creativity and a strong imagination offer toys for both dramatic play and art creations. Dramatic play should include toys that help them pretend. Play kitchens, dress up clothing, and puppets are great for this. Craft don’t have to be elaborately organized or planned. Just having the supplies that bring out their inner artist is what’s important. So make sure you have crayons, paper, stickers or paint.

I understand the importance of my kids having a variety in their play….So for this reason just as much as you will see my boys digging in a sand box you will find them in the kitchen baking a treat. That sums up why my kids smell like cookies and dirt!