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 Samantha and her family.
Please tell us a bit about you and your family.
I am a Mumpreneur and the CEO of our house with three mischievous boys. Boy number one is my partner Stephen, who works hard and plays hard. Boy number two, Caleb my 6 year old son who is obsessed with Angry Birds and boy number three our very comical and playful 7 year old Jack Russel Terrior called Zuma.
It’s hard work keeping them all in check. They keep me on my toes, but they are a fun bunch of critters and wouldn’t be without them.
We love Jardim Marechal Carmona in Cascais. A big space to run around in and lots of play equipment for all ages. A great place to pic-nic on hot summer days.
In a free day what is your family favorite activity?
Free days don’t come along too often when you run your own business, but we absolutley love being at the beach as a family, including the dog. Praia do Guincho is just a walk away from our home, so we often go prepared with bucket and spade a kite and a frisbee for the dog.We can easily spend hours together digging holes and making sand castles. Caleb likes to help the dog dig in the sand and most of the time Zuma get burried. They both love playing chicken with the surf and I end up keeping a close eye on them both so tey dont get swept away.
How do you play with your kids? With what kind of toys?
We do silly things most of the time. We are a house of practical jokers. A lot of hiding in corners and jumping out on each other to see who gets the most laughs. Hide and seek, tickle monster and a bit of boystrous play. We try to go and experience different activities rather than play at home, bike riding, skate boarding, but we also do the usual playing with cars, racing them around the room and role play with Calebs Angry Birds.
What is your favorite toy? And from your children?
Caleb has a bear that he’s loved since he was born and takes it everywhere with him. We do a lot of things with Bear, as he is called. You’ll find him hanging on the top of the stairs pretending to jump off, sitting reading a book, pretending to draw, making him appear as though he is trying to get into the fridge, anything to make it look like Bear is alive and he has done these things by himself and grow caleb’s imagination. He’s just a tatty old stuffed bear that I bought for 20 pence at a car boot sale when I was pregnant and never considered at this time my son would take such a liking to this toy. It has been all around the world with us and not sure how much longer it will survive.
When you were a child what did you play and with what toys? What was your favorite one?
I also had a bear, called Baby Ted, which coinsidently my mother bought at a car boot sale for 2 pence (30 years of inflation costs) Baby Ted also went around the world with me and I still have him today sitting at the side of my bed. He is very old and fragile and has had his body replaced and no fur left at all. Caleb occassional plays with him and Bear together. I have some other stuffed toys that I loved as a child and have given them to Caleb who keeps them on his bed.
What kind of crafts/DIY projects do you like to do with your kids?
Our entire house is one big giant DIY project at the moment and Caleb is a chip off the old block when it comes to arts and crafts. He’s a creative soul like me and you will see him drawing and cutting out more than you will see him play with toys. We even created his own “office” space in my office for him to be as creative as he wants without messing up the rest of the house. One of my brand licenees is craft/activity based. They are called Popagami, which is a modern take on origami. You will find many of these on my website to download for free, print out, colour in and create. We spend a lot of time doing these and our house is full of little popagamai puppets.
Your children prefer playing or watching tv? What they see in television influences how they play?
Caleb would sit in front of the TV all day if I let him, also playing games on the iPad, but we limit his time to allow for other activities. Saturday morning with the TV and Friday evening only with the iPad. That is the general rule, but it always gets bent. With the TV it’s usually cartoons or a Disney movie, although we have been making him choose the Discovery Channel now hes a little older so he can learn more about the world he lives in. Hedoes like to reinact a lot of wat he sees on the TV, which is why we try to limit what he watches. We actually put a blocker code on Cartoon Network until he worked out what it was and was secretly watching the programs we didnt want him to see.
What is your children’s favorite book? And yours (from his collection)?
We have a few favourites. Ultimately his favourite is “The Adventures of Zuma the Dog”, only because they are about his own little dog, but he also loves the “Captain Flyn and the Pirate Dinosaur” series. I enjoy reading any book by Julia Donaldson. “A Squash and a Squeeze”, “Room on the Broom” and “The Gruffalo”, so easy to read when you are tired after a long day. We also try to find bilingual story books as we are raising him to speak English and Portuguese these types of books come in very handy and now he is learning to read, it’s nice for him to read these books to me at bedtime.
Please ask your kid “If you could choose to be a storybook character what would you be? Why?
A very suprising answer from Caleb who said he would like to be Floppy, who is a dog from his reading book series Kipper and Chip. He tells me this is beacuse Floppy has lots of fun and gets to joke around. This tells me we need to start getting more sensible in our household as it appears I may be now raising a comedian.
Do you know how does your children play at school?
Caleb does a lot of role play games. Mostly pretending he is an Angry Bird or Sonic the Hedgehog running as fast as he can. Beating up the bad guys, normal boystrous boy behaviour.
Your kids prefer playing indoors or outdoors?
I think this depends on the weather. In the UK children tend to play indoors more often as the weather is usually cold and wet. I try to encourage a more outdoors lifestyle in Portugal, but it has taken some time for him to get used to being outdoors. Now the weather is starting to warm up I am noticing him out playing in the garden more, kicking his football and shooting hoops. After Easter he will want to use the pool, which means he will definately be outside a lot more.
Does your kids like to create their own activities / games / characters?
Caleb doesn’t make up his own games, but he does make up his own rules to games we play in order to make sure he wins. I tell him it’s called cheating, but he hasn’t quite got the understanding of that yet.
Sounds and music are important in your child playing?
Caleb makes a lot of noise when he plays, sounds of cars crashing, things being blown up. You would think he watched all sorts of violent TV with the noises he makes at times. We are a very passive houshold and don’t agree with violence to other living creatures and can’t believe how instinctive it is for boys to want to play with guns and fight and blow things up. When we lived in the UK Caleb was very young and he didn’t see anything on the TV that was of a violent or agressive nature, albeit news or a cartoon. All of a sudden he reached three years old and every stick became a sword or a gun. Every toy car he owned was made to crash and with it came the sounds. I would often wonder where he would have heard this or even seen it, but I can only believe it’s male instinct and it’s our job as a mum to calm that down, show them the right path and pasify the little man.
Thank’s so much Samantha for this great interview!
Samantha is the owner of the fun and fresh Zuma the Dog brand.
I would really like to know how your kids play? What’s their favorite toy, the one they cuddle at night?
Please leave a comment below.