Creative Play

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Creative play is the parent’s friend. It’s the perfect activity for a rainy day, for a bit of quiet time, or if they need something to entertain little ones before bedtime. It’s hardly surprising that arts and crafts sales during the pandemic in the US shot up by an incredible 70% in March 2020*, as parents looked for things to keep kids occupied while they were at home.

At Baby Brands Direct, we supply some of the biggest brands in the creative play arena, including Tomy’s Aquadoodle and evergreen names such as Plasticine and Spirograph. Names that retailers and parents alike can trust to offer babies and children a fun but safe creative experience.

Creative play offers a host of benefits, including promoting mindfulness. More and more schools are recognising the importance of mindfulness, which allows children to just be ‘in the moment’ and helps them to relax and focus. Drawing, colouring and being creative with materials can help children to do just that.

 * NPD Group

Why are creative play toys such good sellers?

Creative play is always a reliable choice when buying for children – you can’t go wrong if you buy some Plasticine or some arts supplies for a child’s birthday. There’s always an option to buy a present at a lower price point – and children always need more arts and crafts stuff so it’s a stress-free choice. For the retailer, there’s the chance to sell on and up – more colours, bigger sets and so on. For people buying for very little ones, Tomy’s Aquadoodle is a fabulous choice – it only uses water, so no chance of a mess on carpets or tables! The Tomy Colour Doodle Bag offers all the fun of Aquadoodle, but can be folded into a bag and taken with you – great for visits to grandparents or even for a day out in the park.

How does creative play help child development?

Little ones just love getting creative, which is great because it can help them to develop their fine motor skills, promote neural development, improve problem-solving and concentration skills and helps them take the first steps towards reading and writing. Using their fingers is vital to develop the strength and the muscles to hold a pencil and start to write, so activities such as mark making and kneading Plasticine are a vital part of the process. They need the same hand and finger strength for doing up buttons and zips, catching a ball and even brushing their teeth – so they are hugely important! Creative play also helps to develop hand-eye coordination. According to child psychologists, creative play can also help children express and manage their own emotions.

For older children, that evergreen favourite Spirograph offers all kinds of creative opportunities and ideas. Experimenting with the templates in spirograph kits to create different designs can challenge mathematical, scientific and spatial thinking, as it probably did for Helen Sharman, the first-ever British astronaut, who lists Spirograph among her favourite childhood toys.

Emotional and social development

When it comes to emotional and social development, sharing a creative project, whether it’s a colouring page or building a model, can help little ones to develop social skills. Doing something creative with someone else can really help to develop bonds between children and build friendships. Creative play can also allow a breather from a busy schedule. Little ones may be at nursery while their parents work, or have to tag along while siblings are taken to sports clubs, school and other extra curricular activities. Taking some time out from a busy routine can be incredibly beneficial – just as it is for grown-ups! Team that with the many sensory opportunities that it provides, allowing children to explore textures, colours, shapes and more, and it really is a great all-round category.