From babies to full-grown adults, we all enjoy playtime. But did you know that there are actual, tangible benefits that come from playtime, too? Critical thinking skills, language skills, and mental health all improve from added playtime. It’s why many therapists have turned to play therapy to help treat their patients. Here’s what you need to know:
What is play therapy?
Play therapy looks a lot like regular playtime, and that’s because it is. It gives your child free, safe space to play in whatever way they want, all under the supervision of a therapist. There are no rules or limitations, so your child can express themselves how they please.
What are the benefits?
Children don’t have the same emotional knowledge as adults (of course, some of us are still working on this). While they can’t express themselves in words, they can express themselves with actions. Playing with their favorite toys can be a useful emotional outlet for kids, and the science proves it.
Up to 71% of children who have participated in play therapy see a positive change in their mental health. Here’s how:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased self-respect
- Greater levels of empathy
- Improved social skills
- Greater ability to express and experience their emotions
- Greater ability to cope with those emotions in a healthy manner
When is it used?
Play therapy is helpful when a child is struggling with trauma or mental health issues. Even so, it’s not for everyone. Talk to a license therapist first to see if play therapy is helpful for your child.
Stuffed animals can be a source of comfort for any child. Look through our website to see the many stuffable animals we have available today.
Traditional Halloween parties are a thing of the past, thanks to the coronavirus. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean our kids can’t have any fun this Halloween. There are still safe ways to hold a Halloween party for your kids and their friends, even if you have to resort to a virtual party rather than an in-person one.
Here are just a couple of ways you can throw your kids a great Halloween party this year:
Outdoor costume party
An outdoor costume party will allow you to invite people over while still staying socially distant, weather permitting, of course. Have guests dress up in their favorite costumes and hold a contest for the party’s best costume. Winners can receive extra prizes, and everyone can go home with a goodie bag or party pack. Just make sure that everyone who comes is wearing a cloth mask, not a costume one, as costume masks are thin and provide very little protection (thankfully, there are ways that guests can match their cloth masks to their costumes).
Virtual Halloween party
If the weather turns sour, or you don’t feel comfortable inviting people over, you can always opt for a virtual party instead. Have your kids and their guests dress up in costumes, and be sure to send Halloween party kits for everyone to enjoy. These party kits can have candy, games, and even stuffed animals with corresponding Halloween costumes. At the end, put on a spooky, kid-appropriate Halloween movie that everyone loves!
Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard
Instead of a traditional Halloween costume party, you can always spend some time at a pumpkin patch or apple orchard instead. Many patches and orchards have Halloween celebrations of their own, encouraging guests to come in their best costumes. Go with a small group of trusted friends or family members, wear your masks, and use hand sanitizer before and after touching any of the pumpkins or apples.
Halloween may feel a bit different this year, but we can still have plenty of fun. If you’re throwing a Halloween party this year, see how a party kit and costumes from The Zoo Factory can liven up the experience.
The coronavirus has put a stop to many of our annual holiday traditions. Is Halloween among them? While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled trick-or-treating a high-risk activity, that doesn’t mean all is lost for All Hallows’ Eve. Read on to learn more:
How to safely trick-or-treat in 2020
Traditional trick-or-treating where children go door-to-door with no masks on is highly discouraged this year. You could not only run the risk of your children contracting the coronavirus, but they could spread it to family members or neighbors as well. A trunk-or-treat event (where people hand out treats from their cars) is also considered high-risk.
Yet, there are a few ways to go trick-or-treating safely this year. Here’s how:
- Check with your local government: Some localities are banning trick-or-treating this year. Before sending your kids out for the night, check to make sure your town or city isn’t one of them.
- Wear a cloth mask as part of the costume: Masks decrease transmission rates, so keep them on at all times. Just beware, a traditional costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer: Use it every time you interact with someone or something else.
- Stay 6 feet away: Whether you’re outside or inside, stay 6 feet away from others at all times. When approaching a house, have your neighbor set the candy on the porch or sidewalk, then let your kids walk up to get it.
Alternatives to trick-or-treating
If you live in an area that has canceled trick-or-treating for the year, or if you don’t feel comfortable letting your children out, there are other ways to celebrate Halloween.
- Carve pumpkins and decorate the house with Halloween decorations
- Do a Halloween scavenger hunt around your house or backyard
- Have a virtual Halloween costume party or contest (and don’t forget to let your stuffed animals join in on the fun!)
- Set up a Halloween movie night
Here at The Zoo Factory, we hope that everyone has a safe and happy Halloween. If you’re looking for a new costume for your stuffed animal or for more tips on how to keep your kids safe this year, look through our website to learn more!
We always want to keep our kids healthy throughout the school year, but with the coronavirus, it has become more important now than ever before. Schools have always been a prime place for children to pick up germs and illnesses, so it’s necessary to take extra precautions before your kids get onto the school bus. Here are a few ways to get started:
Keep them up to date on their vaccines
While the coronavirus is still a major concern, that doesn’t mean you should forget about the other infectious disease that your child could come into contact with. During the early fall months, take your child to their pediatrician to get them up to date on their vaccines, including their annual flu shot.
Make sure they wear their mask
For most school districts, wearing a mask is required when attending class. If you have younger children, make sure they understand the importance of wearing their masks throughout the day. Additionally, give your child two masks to hold onto just in case they lose the one they’re wearing.
Teach them proper hand washing techniques
Regularly washing your hands is just as important as wearing a mask. When your kids head off to school, they should go knowing how to properly wash their hands. You can follow the CDC’s guidelines for how and when to wash your hands here.
Keep an eye on their stress levels
During such stressful times, it can be easy for our kids to feel overly anxious. Not only does this compromise their mental health, but it can compromise their physical health as well. Indeed, anxiety and stress can actually weaken our immune system, leaving us more susceptible to diseases. Keep an eye out for common signs of stress to make sure your kids don’t get too anxious throughout the school year.
Here at The Zoo Factory, we want to make sure every child has a safe and healthy school year. For more tips, read more posts from our blog!