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 Nitasia and her family.
Please tell us a bit about you and your family.
My family and I live in Coastal Maine. I’m a work-at-home mom and textiles designer, my husband is a writer and teacher and is originally from Wales. We have two young daughters, age 4 and 9, and 2 cats, 5 chickens, and a rabbit. We live in the countryside, just a few minutes from the sea. I own a small handcrafted homewares brand called Reverie Textiles. Creativity plays a huge role in our everyday lives: we read and write stores, draw & color, make crafts, impromptu toys, and pretty decorations for our home.
Our favorite place to play is out in nature. We love to go for walks in the woods and the trails and hikes around our town. We have a big soft spot for the ocean. For 8 years we lived a minute’s walk to the beach by our house. Both our daughters grew up toddling and playing on that beach. Every day we would go down and build sand castles, tiptoe along old sun-bleached logs, make driftwood “hobbit houses”, pretend hair with seaweed, and collect sea glass for decorating around our house.
In a free day what is your family favorite activity?
Most weekends we have a family walk along a wooded loop trail called Moosepoint. It follows along the sea, with a beautiful ocean view, and the girls love to run ahead and pretend they’re galloping horses. When we get to the “point” we play hide-and-go-seek with our littlest daughter and help our oldest make fairy houses out of the moss, stones, and bark she’s collected along the way.
How do you play with your kids? With what kind of toys?
We love to dance with our kids. I think of it as play and fun exercise. My husband is the DJ and we have a large living room to spin around in.
Our girls will spend hours pretend playing. They build tents inside and outside too. They play fairy tales, Pokemon characters, horse riders, and detectives. For pretend cooking, they have a lovely wooden kid’s kitchen their grandfather built for them last Christmas stocked with all the necessities. They both love building with Legos. They have a big stuffed-animal play horse they climb on and pretend to feed and to ride. They love playing with and dressing up their dolls. And they have a sweet collection of “Calico Critters” and a wooden tree house for them to live in.
What is your favorite toy? And from your children’s?
I love my kids many colorful wooden toys, like their big pirate ship with red and white sails, and their circus set from Janod. I also love the “Calico Critters”, they are too cute!
When you were a child what did you play and with what toys? What was your favorite one?
I played outside all the time. I loved building forts with my older siblings. When inside I played Spirograph, did arts and crafts, and loved making houses and clothes for my Barbie dolls.
What kind of crafts/DIY projects do you like to do with your kids?
I design and sew for a living, and so naturally my daughters love to be crafty. Our oldest daughter has a sewing machine, and we do needle-felting projects and paper crafts together too. But what she loves the best is drawing and writing stories in her journals and coloring in fancy coloring books.
Your children prefer playing or watching tv? What they see in television influences how they play?
My kids prefer to play, but they do have some screen time each day. We try and make sure an app is educational whenever possible. And it can influence them in positive ways. Our 9-year-old plays Minecraft and she creates wonderful, imaginative landscapes with farms and vast architectural mansions and sprawling tree houses.
What is your children’s favorite book? And yours (from their collection)?
Our oldest daughter loves The Boxcar Children, and the Harry Potter books. And our youngest daughter loves The Gruffalo. I always loved Where the Wild Things Are. And for chapter books, I can’t help but feel nostalgic over the Laura Ingals Wilder Little House on the Prairie series.
Please ask your kids “If you could choose to be a storybook character what would you be”? Why?
Our oldest daughter would like to be Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. When we asked her “why” she said: “because Hermione has magic, is smart and pretty, and she’s good at wand waving, which helps Harry a lot.”
Do you know how does your children play at school?
Our oldest daughter, who is 9, pretends to be horses with her friends at recess time, and they also play Pokemon characters. Lots of running around in the fresh air.
Your kids prefer playing indoors or outdoors?
A little of both. Indoors primarily, but we encourage as much outdoor play as possible. And in the winter, here in Maine, there’s a lot of opportunity to build snowmen, go sledding, and ice-skating.
Does your kids like to create their own activities / games / characters?
Yes, both our girls have creative imaginations and love to play in make believe worlds, something we have encouraged them to do since they were toddlers. Often they build with things around them (their toys and household stuff) to help bring their imaginative ideas to life.
Sounds and music are important in your child playing?
My kids are always singing. It’s a joy. They mostly make up songs while they work and play. They also love kids music and our music. We have always encouraged them to listen to adult pop, rock, classical, and jazz too. Our family passions are: music, dancing, reading & writing, crafting, cooking, and being in nature.
Such a sweet family – thank you so much Nitasia for sharing about your lovely family!
Nitasia makes beautiful cashemere pieces in her studio, inspired by the 50s & 60s art and Scandinavian design – you can find more about her work here at the Reverie Textiles.
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.