Educational Play the Schleich WayWe first discovered Schleich when Bud was toddling and someone passed on a model gorilla to our animal-loving little boy. I was so impressed by the quality and detail and, since then, our collection has grown considerably! They've been played with in so many different ways in our house and their solid construction lends itself to this which is why it's great news that Schleich have teamed up with Dr Amanda Gummer to produce a booklet to help parents and children to explore four main areas of play - Active, Creative, Social and Free.
The brochure is packed with different tips to help encourage your children to play. Schleich figures lend themselves so well to imaginative and small world play and there are games to use the animals in this way. Games like Zoo Keeper (make a habitat for one of the animal figures and talk about their lifestyle, what they eat etc) and Animal Restaurant (think of the type of restaurant that each animal would like, what they would serve, what would it be called) were great entertainment, the second of which would be perfect on car journeys especially as Bud usually has an animal figure in his pocket or bag! What's the animal was super fun and the children found it hilarious when their Daddy and I pretended to be various animals, for their entertainment!
Included in the booklet are other games to play with your children. These include parachute play, group songs and the idea to construct a box maze. We already do the first two but the maze was an interesting idea, especially as Bud and LM both enjoy maze puzzles. Taking the concept into 3D then trying to solve the maze with a marble or toy is definitely going to be a future rainy day activity here.
Two pages address developing language skills through play and this is of particular interest for me following LM's speech delay. She is rapidly improving but I'm still on the look out for ways to help her with this. The importance of talking to your children about what they are doing and being present in their play, rather than distracted by phones or TVs is crucial.
I think it's really easy for parents to dismiss play as quite meaningless and to 'let the children play' while they get on with different things. This booklet is an excellent reminder of just how important it is in helping young children to develop physically, emotionally and intellectually. While it didn't really tell me anything I didn't know already some of the suggestions were very good, and we especially loved the maze idea. It's always useful to get new ideas for those 'I'm bored' moments and I'm certain we will be putting them to good use.
I know that our Schleich animals will continue to be played with by all three of my children for many years to come. Their reassuring quality means that they stay in excellent condition and can withstand play whether outdoors, water, messy or indoors.
To find out more about the Schleich range visit www.schleich-s.co.uk
We were sent a selection of animals for review purposes