From the September 2017 issue

The Importance of Unstructured Creative Play

An expert at Magformers, based in Canton, explains why it’s so important for social and intellectual development of today’s busy kids.

Brought to you by Magformers

Fall is fast approaching, school is back in session, and it’s easier for kids to run home from school and straight to their video games. While they certainly are entertaining themselves, is there something lacking without the ‘unplugged’ games of the past? Freddie Jordan, the marketing manager for Magformers, believes that creative, imaginative play is essential to a child’s development.

For children, their play is a large part of their work. For babies and toddlers, we buy playmats loaded with toys that crinkle, rattle and squeak to help them develop their fine motor skills, but as they get older, what toys do we give our kids to help continue their development?

“There are tons of toys that are specifically aimed at creative play for children’s development. Toys like Magformers, such as blocks, dress-up sets, puzzles and brain teaser games. All sorts of toys can foster it to varying degrees,” says Jordan.

According to PBS, creative play helps children explore new ways of thinking, which translates into resourceful, problem-solving kids. It also fosters independence as they learn to entertain themselves.

“Construction-type toys, like Magformers and other blocks, pose mental challenges for kids. Measurement, equality, balance, shape, spatial relationships and physical properties all come into play when kids have things to put together. These skills set them up for success in STEM classes later on,” says Jordan.

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Magformers are a unique construction-type toy that uses magnets that attract, but don’t repel. Having over 50 geometric shaped blocks, kids are able to lay them all out in a two dimensional way, and then use those 2-D shapes to transform them into three dimensional objects. Toys that foster creative play help children explore and create new ways of combining objects. “This helps them develop their own unique perspective and be able to view things from different perspectives as well,” says Jordan.

Taking something they see in their heads and letting them bring it to life is a great way to help kids embrace their imaginations and use it in the real world. This was a concept that was very important to Magformers, according to Jordan. Wanting to be able to keep up with the ideas kids come up with, they added accessories. “If a kid wants to build anything, they can. An animal? Sure. A car? Here are the wheels. Kids can really engage and feel empowered knowing that if they can think it, they can build it.”

Through creative play, kids are able to express themselves creatively, without the pressure of lessons or school. They’re still learning, but in a hands-on and practical way. They’re able to relax and take control of their own creations, exercising the power of choice and decision making as they progress.

Creative play also has a positive impact on social development. When kids collaborate with each other, or with their parents, they are able to experiment with social roles and exchange ideas. They learn to work together and ask for help when they get stuck, and can appreciate the strengths of others.

“Kids can play together and have fun together, but they are also learning together when they play with these imaginative toys like Magformers. They can just lay it all out in front of them and interact with the toys and each other and even with their parents.”

In fact, Jordan says that the most wonderful thing about creative play is the excitement and pride they bring out when kids are eager to share their creations with the world.

“With Magformers, the building process can be so quick, and kids will stop and yell, ‘Look what I made!’ It’s so great to see them so excited. And then they tear it down and build something new just as fast and want to show off the next one.”

It’s easy for kids to develop a sense of pride in their work as they bring their creations to life. They enjoy showing their work, which gives them a sense of confidence in themselves.

“Creative play is so important for kids. They learn so many practical skills that they will carry with them into adulthood,” Jordan says. “These sorts of toys do more than just entertain kids. They really give them the tools they need and act as a creative outlet that every child should have access to.”

Magformers is located at 44125 Ford Road in Canton. You can also discover the array of Magformers sets at Magformers.com or at local toy stores and online retailers like Amazon.

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