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 Katia and her family.
Please tell us a bit about you and your family.
We are a family of four – my wonderful husband Pete, my two magical girls – Lucia 8 & Alma-Luisa 5 – and me. We live in San Francisco in an apartment overlooking Alamo Square Park. We don’t have a lot of space, especially with me working from home, but we have beautiful views and light and I like that we are most often together, working and playing in the same space. It’s cozy!
The beach and the kitchen table. Also, there are lots of great playgrounds in San Francisco and we visit them often since we don’t have a back yard.
In a free day what is your family favorite activity?
We really like to be at home in our pajamas all day long! We draw, do art projects, read, build blanket forts, play with toys, sew and then when we get stir-crazy, we go out and climb trees in the park or go to a playground or go rollerskating.
How do you play with your kids? With what kind of toys?
We do a lot of art projects – drawing, painting, collaging. We have tons of art supplies on hand and available all the time. I learn so much from watching the girls be creative. We spend a lot of time together at the kitchen table, creating. We have a beloved wooden play kitchen that we got when Lucia was just barely 2. Over the years, it’s been filled with pretend foods. When we’re out walking, we like to gather acorns or eucalyptus buttons or pinecones to bring home and make into delicious soups. Many, many soups have been made in that kitchen and although the girls have pretty much outgrown it size-wise, it remains the starting off point for a lot of pretend play. We have tea parties and play sweet shop or store.
What is your favorite toy? And from your children’s?
My favorite toys are a sketchbook and mechanical pencil, the sewing machine and, I confess, my iPhone. Lucia’s favorite toys are books (does that count?) and paper and pencil, markers and colored pencils. Her very favorite thing to do is read, but second to that, she loves to write stories and make lists, and she spends hours drawing outfits and accessories for her future line of handmade dolls. Alma-Luisa loves Legos, Calico Critters, Magformers, Playmobil, and all sorts of little animals and figures. She plays very well on her own, inventing and acting out little stories for her toys. I love to listen in to her imaginative play when I am working. The worlds she creates are so rich and exciting! She also loves to dress up in costumes and she loves the big, stuffed horse she got from Santa, Pearly-Pat, who is strong enough for her to sit on. Actually, both girls adore stuffed animals and they can not get enough!
When you were a child what did you play and with what toys? What was your favorite one?
I loved to draw and design. I liked to play store with a little plastic cash register and play restaurant if my brother and sister would play with me. I loved stuffed animals. I had a pair of pink roller skates that I adored and a yellow bicycle that I rode every day and pretended was a horse.
What kind of crafts/DIY projects do you like to do with your kids?
Holiday decorations like garlands and paper snowflakes, handmade cards and books, puppets and paper dolls, collages, knitting, sewing doll clothes, making lovies, costume accessories.
Your children prefer playing or watching tv? What they see in television influences how they play?
My children do not watch TV at home, but we do watch movies from time to time. (Some favorites: Kiki’s Delivery Service, Totoro, Frozen, Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas) They usually act out the stories for months afterward.
What is your children’s favorite book? And yours (from their collection)?
The BFG by Roald Dahl and The Little House on the Prairie series.
Please ask your kids “If you could choose to be a storybook character what would you be”? Why?
Alma-Luisa (5) would be Laura Ingalls because she loves Jack, Laura’s dog. Lucia (8) would be Athena from The Goddess Girls series because it would be awesome to do magic and have such nice friends.
Do you know how does your children play at school?
They play a lot of different kinds of tag in kindergarten: bear and squirrel tag, raccoon tag, banana tag, octopus, Mr. Fox and Buzz Lightyear. Lucia and her friends play make believe and act out stories from books they are reading.
Your kids prefer playing indoors or outdoors?
Lucia prefers indoors (“so I can read”) and Alma-Luisa likes to play outdoors (“when it’s raining!”) I love to hike, but they don’t, so I always have to turn it into a game for them. We pretend we’re good witches that need to gather ingredients to make a spell to save sick children in the village. I am a mermaid queen and my treasure has been stolen so I must send them on a quest to find it.
Does your kids like to create their own activities / games / characters?
Absolutely! They love to play imagination games and having a sister is the best! Princesses, orphans, mermaids, teenagers, fairies, goddesses, witches, circus, school… Sometimes influenced by books we’re reading but often fully invented. They also love to put on shows, plays and concerts.
Sounds and music are important in your child playing?
We often listen to music, especially when cooking or doing creative projects. Both girls have their own Spotify playlists. We sing a lot together and make up silly songs. The girls also like to listen to audio stories and their favorite podcast, Sparkle Stories.
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.