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Why Playing Alone Can Be Great for Kids 

Why Playing Alone Can Be Great for Kids 

According to research, play is an extremely important part of child development. While playing with other children helps with socialization, kids should also spend time playing alone. Spending time by themselves gives kids the opportunity to take charge and learn to appreciate their own company.

There is a stigma that being alone means you’re automatically lonely. That is simply not true! Solo playtime helps your kids become well-rounded people who are happy being in groups as well as on their own. Not only that, but it gives you a break too! So, let’s look at some of the reasons why playing alone can be great for kids.

Benefits of Playing Alone For Kids 

Playing Alone is Great for the Imagination

To start, without other kids around, they have to use their imagination! Playing alone means that they can run wild with ideas and you never know how creative they truly can be until they’re playing alone.

Improves Emotional Regulation

According to research, children who engage in unstructured play have better self-regulation later in life. When kids are playing in a group, they can become overstimulated. If they don’t know how to self-regulate, it can result in outbursts and be highly reactive. This is why temper tantrums happen, and we don’t want that!

Allowing your child to spend time alone will relax their mind. Research from Cornell shows that children ages 3 to 5 need more time for solitary play. They don’t have to worry about others, and allow them to center themselves.

It Teaches Kids Boundaries

Kids can struggle with boundaries, but giving them alone time can help. How many times have you had a fussy kid tugging at you to play? They don’t listen to the word “no” and want you to give in to their demands. Teaching kids how to play by themselves will help them understand boundaries and to occupy themselves instead of insisting on your attention.

Creates Social Independence

It’s so important for children to be able to do things on their own. Even as adults, this is something we can struggle with. This is another reason why children should be encouraged to do their own thing at an early age. If kids learn how to be on their own when they’re young, it will help them in social situations as adults.

They’ll Be More Confident

When kids learn to play on their own, they’re developing problem solving skills. By doing so, they’re going to build confidence in themselves, as well. Solo play makes kids feel like they’re in charge, because they are! They decide everything when they’re playing alone with no other kids to voice an opinion or pass judgment. It’s an excellent exercise in confidence.

Playing Alone Encourages Creativity

When kids are playing alone, they have to come up with the ideas themselves. At first, kids may feel frustrated by this challenge, but it’s good for them in the long run. In fact, after a while kids may grow to prefer playing alone because they get to call the shots.

They Learn to Enjoy Being on Their Own

It’s important for kids to understand that being alone doesn’t always mean being lonely. The ability to enjoy your own company can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. Think about the sigh of relief you let out when you get a few moments alone as a parent. Your kids should appreciate being on their own, too.

How to Encourage Your Kids to Play Alone 

Now that we know how great playing alone is for your kids, it’s time to encourage them to try it! The problem is that kids can associate being alone with being a “loser.” There are a few ways to motivate your kids to spend time playing by themselves.

Start By Playing Together

According to PBS, spending 15-20 minutes of playing together will help ease your kid into playing solo. After you’ve played together for a while, let them know you have something you need to do and they’ll have to continue playing on their own. You won’t have to do this every time, but if your child doesn’t seem to be comfortable with playing on their own this may help.

Being Alone Doesn’t Mean Being Lonely

It’s important that you emphasize to them that being alone doesn’t always mean that you’re lonely. In fact, other kids should find it admirable that they’re able to enjoy being on their own! You should also emphasize that just because you’re busy or want them to do something solo doesn’t mean you don’t want to play with them! Stay positive and encouraging.

Support Their Ideas

Young kids can be reliant on their parents to make decisions for them when it comes to playtime. When your kids are telling you their ideas of what they want to do when they’re playing alone, be supportive and encouraging! For example, if you’re busy doing something and you want your kids to go play by themselves, say something positive instead of telling them to go away.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up, solo play is very important for kids. It teaches them skills they’ll need for adulthood to get along with others and help them with their career. If you’re looking for toys to encourage solo playtime, try Clixo’s magnetic building toys. They’re excellent for letting the imagination run wild and creating something all on your own.

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Sensory Symphony! Mixing Music and Hands-on Play!

It’s always really cool to “look behind the curtain” (so to speak) and see how other parents juggle parenthood. In this episode of Clixo Chit Chats, we recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Ximena Borges, who is not only a mom, but is also a gifted musician and the amazing founder of Juliet and the Elf. Juliet and the Elf is an incredibly interesting business that uses music as an intentional parenting tool.

Classical music can sometimes get an unfairly bad rap for being boring or stuffy. However, there are so many complex melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic patterns in Classical music and Jazz that make these interesting, fun, and very good for babies brains. Juliet and the Elf embraces all of this magic, art, and complexity and bottles them into wonderful, well-curated lists that are incredibly approachable, super helpful, and utterly enjoyable.

Beyond Ximena’s passion for music, one of the things that struck us is how she had truly done her research as a parent. Beyond playing with open-ended building toys like Clixo and Magnatiles, she also goes outside toys and incorporates fun, whole-family activities (such as baking) that really emphasize the importance of hands-on activities in child development. Incorporating music and hands-on play has been a wonderful way for her son to either focus or wind down at the end of the day, and to express himself in different ways.

When you combine the magic of music and the hands-on wonder of Clixo, it’s truly a sensory symphony! 🙂

Check out the full interview in the YouTube link below.

Puppetry, Play, and Parenthood during the Pandemic

I recently had the pleasure of getting to chat with PreK NYC school educator, Andy Yung. We talked about Clixo and how it’s incorporated into Andy’s school lessons, and how the pandemic has shaped our parenting. We also talked about play based learning through creativity, and how unstructured play has helped navigate our way both in the classroom and out.

Check out the full interview in this YouTube link and a quick summary below. 🙂

Remember Remote Learning Back in 2020? ????

Remote learning was a challenge for Andy as well as myself. Last year, we did a full year of remote learning for our then PreK child, so I understand the challenges Andy was faced with! Keeping a young child engaged online is hard enough, but during Andy’s lessons, Clixo helped his students stay focused and became a main component in some of his lessons. Through DonorsChoose, Andy was able to get basic supplies, books and Clixo packs for each of his students. When teaching online, the class would build and share their creations. “Playing apart but also together,” says Andy, helped keep his students interested and engaged. He found the younger students kept more focus during free play, compared to structured learning and used unstructured learning as the core of his “lessons”. He used a building prompt using any of the toys the kids had at home including Clixo, and were encouraged to build and play however they chose.

???? Check out some of the Clixo builds his students made here (pictures) and over here (videos).

During virtual learning, the unstructured free play eased some of the tension at home. It gave parent’s a break from having to feel like they always had to be present, or could take a conference call while working from home. The younger kids who couldn’t yet navigate a computer were set up by mom or dad and had their instruction played out for them. I give these kids lots of credit for keeping up with their online classes, and sitting through some of the longer days! The disconnectedness we felt last year and not getting to see our friends really started to take its toll.

Back to School Blues

Andy also mentioned that seeing the kids come back to school has proven a little difficult. In general, most students became used to at-home learning in the comfort of their own home with their parents nearby. However we both agreed that children are super adaptable, and the transition from home-life to school-life is improving. Andy’s number one goal is to get them excited, and to keep an eye on each student’s overall development. Just being there for them has created a sense of reassurance and confidence. We’re thankful to be back in person this year.

Like most parents, Andy says that balancing work and home life is also challenging. During the dark days of remote learning, Andy felt that he couldn’t do much with his classroom. His sleep was disrupted by constant thoughts of how he could keep his students engaged while learning at the same time. In previous years he felt reserved about technology, but after his remote year, he saw it as a new opportunity.  For example each student was required to do their “feelings” check in before the beginning of each lesson. It would give Andy an indication of their moods before coming to class, and would then use these opportunities to open up the conversation about how each student felt. If a child was feeling sad, he would talk about ways to make them feel better. In addition to feelings, Andy would use a puppet (the most recent was based on the school’s cafeteria worker) to teach his students about everyday life skills. This was then put into a video that was shared with parents and available to the students when they needed it. The puppet would show the kids how to do basic skills such as opening a milk carton. This helped save time in the cafeteria because one person wasn’t scrambling around helping each child. Those kids have limited time to eat before the next lunch shift comes in, so it proved to be very helpful!

Clixo is still being used in Andy’s classroom for compactability and mobility!  In addition it offers a sensory experience for young ones. Some creations are very basic considering they’re younger learners, but Andy mentions his students love to make necklaces and rings.  A giant magnetic wall in the class is used as a gallery for students to celebrate and showcase their creations. The students also incorporate their pieces into role play, for example, a doctor or artist. So despite the harder challenges and mature creations for the older crowd, Clixo can be used in many different ways!

Shout out to Andy Yung for working so hard to keep his students interested and eager to learn!  We’re thankful to put remote learning behind us (for now) and will continue to let kids be kids through free-based creative play. ????

This piece was written by Kate. Kate’s a NYC parent of two young boys, ages 3 and 5 and fur baby, Mr. Biscuits. She lives in the West Village with high school sweetheart and now hubby, Dylan. When not working or managing the school shuffle, Kate is running, cycling, painting, or as her children call it, “sitting in her lounge chair” (aka the couch). She loves a good laugh and literally dances like no one is watching.