In today’s society, we’re constantly under pressure to juggle various aspects of our lives and I often find that I’m struggling to keep my head above water in those areas. Housework, bills, shopping, work, relationships, family, friends — these are all plates I am expected to keep spinning alongside being a mother and trying my hardest to meet the needs and wants of my child.

Amongst all of this, I am conscious of the importance of playing with Lily — whether that be ‘free play’ (without my direct intervention) or a structured activity — and it’s something that I both enjoy and make a priority in our lives.

Lily & I Playing — #ToyFunFriday

I’m a big believer that children don’t need every toy under the sun and that play doesn’t necessarily have to involve toys (even helping me with the housework is considered ‘play’ in my book *wink wink*) but, of course, Lily does have lots of toys and she either plays with them by herself whilst I observe (or get on with something else, see the list above!) or we play together so we can bond and spend quality time with each other.

Introducing #ToyFunFriday

You might recall that I worked with Milly & Flynn recently on their range of Dear Zoo toys and puzzles? They’re a lovely UK brand offering gifts and toys for children including books, puzzles, flashcards and wooden character toys. You might recognise some of your kiddo’s favourite characters on their website including Elmer, Peppa Pig, Teletubbies and Peter Rabbit amongst others and they’ve decided to capture the joy of playing on social media by introducing #ToyFunFriday.

To get involved, simply take a photo of your children playing with their toys (it doesn’t have to be a toy from Milly & Flynn) and use #ToyFunFriday to share the image on social media. I’ll be trying to get involved every Friday and I’m hoping to use it as a prompt to remind me to regularly switch up Lily’s toys according to her needs and development and just to make sure play is a key focus in our lives.

What’s the benefit of using the #ToyFunFriday hashtag?

I’ve got two words for you — inspiration and connection! I always think of hashtags as a community and that’s what #ToyFunFriday will becomes as it grows.

Lily Playing — #ToyFunFriday

If you click on a hashtag, it will show you all of the other photographs or posts that have been similarly tagged. By clicking through to #ToyFunFriday, you’ll be able to see what other children have been playing with, interact with like-minded parents who’ve gotten involved, make new mummy or daddy friends and scroll through the community images to seek inspiration on how to enhance your child’s play experience and gift ideas for birthdays or special occasions.

5 reasons why play is important for children

— It allows them to discover how things work and use their creativity whilst developing their growing imagination.

— It’s instrumental in the development of their co-ordination, fine motor skills, dexterity and their ability to solve problems.

— It teaches them essential emotional and coping skills such as how to work out their frustrations, how to improve and grow, how to share with others and how to express or vocalise their thoughts. Play also helps children to work through and process new experiences and events from their day-to-day lives.

Lily Playing Milly & Flynn - #ToyFunFriday

— It builds confidence and encourages independence and a sense of self-awareness.

— It helps them with their concentration and is vital for healthy brain development.

Play-based hashtags for social media

To compliment #ToyFunFriday, you could also tag your play-based images with additional hashtags to increase your reach and join in with some of the other communities that run throughout the week. Here are some examples for you…

#learningthroughplay #playmatters #playideas #sensoryplay #diytoys #woodentoys #naturaltoys #imaginativeplay #earlylearning #learnandplay #simpleplay #playandlearn #invitationtoplay #kidstoys #playbasedlearning #finemotorskills #handsonplay #toddlerplay #ecotoys #smallworldplay #creativeplay #outdoorplay #preschooltoys #preschoolplay #pretendplay #childrenstoys

You can pop over to my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds to see what I’ve shared for the launch of #ToyFunFriday today and I’ll be looking through and interacting with the community across the next few days.

I can’t wait to see all of your play-based photos and get some fresh ideas for our playroom!


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