Definition of play: engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose; engage in (a game or activity) for enjoyment; amuse oneself by engaging in imaginative pretence;
Since I make toys – and I’m a mother of a little one – I begin to grow more and more curious about playing. How children these days play, how parents interact and play with them, how can we play in a fun way with them, how playing can help children’s development…
For this interview I have the pleasure to introduce you to Pascale Wowak and her family.
Please tell us a bit about you and your family.
I’m a single mom working as professional photographer and raising two children, a son who is 11 years sold and a daughter who is 9 years old.
Any playground that isn’t too structured. Has room for creative engagement. Places to play hide and seek, try new acrobatics, get your heart pumping with a little adrenaline rush and plenty of shade from the sun. :)
In a free day what is your family favorite activity?
We live by the ocean so our favorite activity is to be on the beach with our dog or in the water – surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking. If the water is too rough, we love to go on bike rides together.
How do you play with your kids? With what kind of toys?
Because my kids are older I don’t play with them with toys anymore. We play board games as a family together a lot. We do arts and crafts, creative endeavors where we get to create art and use our imagination. When the kids play together they still love to play legos, building up all kinds of innovative designs and using their creations in imaginative ways, creating stories for their “characters” and enjoying the art of story telling through legos.
What is your favorite toy? And from your children?
My daughter’s favorite toys are actually three PinkNounou dolls she has acquired over the years. I have gotten her one each year for Christmas for the past 3 years. She sleeps with them every night and still has the three dolls playing with each other when she wants to play alone (her brother is too old to play dolls with her anymore!). She knows they were hand made with love and care and are custom dolls and no two are alike. That makes them extra special and she values and cherishes them so much!
When you were a child what did you play and with what toys? What was your favorite one?
I loved building things when I was a child so Legos were a favorite of mine as well. I also loved board games and card games quite a bit.
What kind of crafts/DIY projects do you like to do with your kids?
We like free play arts and crafts, not too structured, just drawing and sketching and painting and papier mache and just creating collages and random artwork out of stuff we find. I don’t like the hamper the artistic process with too many rules or structure!
Your children prefer playing or watching tv? What they see in television influences how they play?
My children definitely prefer playing over watching TV although my 11 year old is starting to become obsessed with playing games on his phone and I am working hard to curtail this! We rarely watch TV shows. If I let them watch TV it is more us watching a family movie together on a weekend night, curled up under blankets, cuddling on the couch and enjoying watching a story come to life on the screen.
What is your children’s favorite book? And yours (from his collection)?
My children are both AVID readers and my son will go through a new book every 3-4 days. Big, thick books at that! One book we all enjoyed reading together, which I don’t do as much with them anymore since they now like their “quiet reading time” in the evenings reading their own books, was Zorgamazzo by Robert Paul Weston. It’s a book made entirely of rhymes with a great little story to accompany it. Absolutely delightful to read out loud (in English, though, may not translate as well in other languages).
Please ask your kid “If you could choose to be a storybook charather what would you be? Why?”
My kids couldn’t think of any character they would want to be, they both said they like being themselves!
Do you know how does your children play at school?
My 11 year old said they just don’t “play” much at school anymore in his grade, which is particularly sad if you ask me. My 9 year old said they play ball games and other games of their own invention.
Your kids prefer playing indoors or outdoors?
They told me they love to play outdoors on a pretty day and indoors on a rainy day, which is certainly logical. :)
Does your kids like to create their own activities / games / characters?
Absolutely! They love to do this, especially when playing with their Legos.
Sounds and music are important in your child playing?
Absolutely. This works in several ways actually. My kids like to create different voices for the different characters they are playing and making sound effects for various actions to better demonstrate the events unfolding in their “dramatization”. Additionally, we always have music playing in the house so they are constantly surrounded by a variety of different styles of music and vocal melodies. My music selections are either based on our my (our) current mood, or, in the mood I am trying to create! If the kids are too hyper and I want them to mellow out a bit I will play more calming tunes and if they are grumpy, I will play more bubbly/dancing type music.
Pascale is a photographer. You can know more about her work at Pascale Wowak or follow her blog here.
Photos by Pascale Wowak.