{ All About Playing } interview with Lucy Monkman



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 Lucy and her family.

Please tell us a bit about you and your family.
As a freelance illustrator I work in design, in editorial and in publishing. In addition to commissioned work in 2010 I launched a collection of colourful and contemporary greeting cards and social stationery. I have a 14 year old son and an eighteen year old daughter who is shortly going to university. The time since she was little and just starting school feels like minutes.

Best playground.
Our favourite playground was at a local farming museum which had a wonderful collection of animals, a Roman fort, a Stone Age village, a nature trail, a steam railway, a play area with tractors, a super cafe and it was 10 minutes away from our home. It was always fun and always informative for children and for adults.

In a free day what is your family favorite activity?
As the children have got older and so much busier free days are rare but we have always loved to spend a day at the seaside. We have an amazing coastline which is about an hour away in the car and we have a favourite bay with a wonderful sandy beach.

How do you play with your kids? With what kind of toys?
The children had a wide range of all the traditional toys for young children but as an illustrator I obviously love drawing and making activities. Fortunately both my children enjoyed them too and we frequently did drawing, painting, sticking and book making. My son also loved scene building and he would endlessly build towns from Playmobil and later from Lego but also from paper and card. He wanted to be an architect until quite recently. Interestingly as soon as my children started to draw my daughter drew people and flowers and my son drew vehicles and buildings.


What is your favorite toy? And from your kids?
In addition to art materials I think my favourite toy for children would probably be Lego as as it has limitless creative possibilities. It was certainly the favourite toy of my son. The toy that they both enjoyed equally though was my dolls’ house which my parents had kept with all the contents.

When you were a child what did you play and with what toys? What was your favorite one?
It is probably no surprise that my favourite toy was a wicker suitcase full of art and craft materials which I was given for a birthday. As it had a handle I could take it anywhere and play and I am sure it is the reason why I have always loved and collected paper. I still have it and a few of the things that I made as a child.

What kind of crafts/DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
I used to love any activities that involved drawing and sticking. In our house a glue stick is never far away and I think that a glue stick is brilliant for children as it makes a wide range of activities simple and for parents mess free.


Your kids prefer playing or watching tv? What they see in television influences how they play?
When they were younger they were very good at playing and they enjoyed television programmes as well. Now they spend so much of their time in front of their small screens. I think they were both interested in different television programmes based on the different ways they liked to play. My daughter liked drama programmes and programmes with music and my son preferred documentary  programmes.

What are your kids favorite books? And yours (from their collection)?
My son always preferred reference books and we had a large collection of books about sharks, dinosaurs, vehicles and aeroplanes. My daughter preferred picture books. My favourite book is the wonderful, wordless Clown by Quentin Blake.

Please ask your children “If you could choose to be a storybook character what would you be? Why?”
My son would have liked to have been a character who flew a plane or an underwater adventurer and my daughter would have liked to have been a character who liked dressing up.

Do you know how does your kids play at school?
The children went to a super primary school which offered them a wide range of indoor and outdoor play activities.

Your kids prefer playing indoors or outdoors?
My children both preferred playing indoors even when the weather was good.

Does your kids like to create their own activities / games / characters?
My son particularly liked creating his own activities which usually involved creating scenes for his vehicle, dinosaur, shark and later Lego collection. My daughter preferred to play with friends rather than to create her own activities.

Sounds and music are important in your children playing?
They were and still are much more important to my daughter than to my son. She loved to listen to music when she was little and she was able to learn songs and dances very quickly. She was able to do all her revision for her exams this summer listening to music which I would find very difficult.

Another lovely family that I had the pleasure to share here – thank’s so much Lucy!
Lucy is an illustrator with a beautiful (growing) collection of greeting cards and stationary – you can visit her website here.


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.