From Lewis being small, right up to having our youngest three, I have always been a huge advocate of free play. Admittedly, at the time I had no idea it was actually “a thing”, and instead thought that my children were simply entertaining themselves, using their imaginations and, most of the time, seemingly trashing our play room. And as hard as it is sometimes to bite my tongue when they are playing with the tractor in the toy kitchen, or using the doctors kit at the tool bench, I find it fascinating to watch the ways in which they play, and I especially love seeing where their imaginations take them.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term free play, Play England defines Free Play as –
“…children choosing what they want to do, how they want to do it and when they want to stop and try something else. Free Play has no external goals set by adults and has no adult imposed curriculum. Although adults usually provide the space and resources for Free Play and might be involved, the child takes the lead and the adults respond to cues from the child.”
Research by Play England shows that children today lead much more structured lives, with so many classes and activities readily available, and although all of those classes have their place, free play has been somewhat lost in the process.
I know that for me, especially through the Winter months, I have found there are times when my children are sat in front of the television or glued to whatever it is they obsess over on their iPads, and their toys lie discarded on the floor. At just three, four and five, I really want to encourage them to switch the technology off, pick up their toys, and use their imaginations while they are still young.
So when we were asked to take part in the Petits Filous Play Free campaign, it felt like the perfect opportunity for me to really champion free play as part of my children’s day. Launching today, Petits Filous are keen to show the benefits of Free Play and how it forms an important part of a child’s development – physically, cognitively and emotionally.
As a child growing up in the eighties, there was pretty much nothing but Free Play. My brother and I played from the minute we got up until the moment we went to bed, and I don’t remember having timetables or structures or any of the hundreds of activities and classes that are available to our children these days.
I remember spending hours playing with my dolls house, playing animal hospital with my stuffed toy collection, playing shop with various bits and bobs I had gathered from the kitchen. Through the Summer we would be out from morning ’til night, riding our scooters, playing on our roller skates, building dens or swinging from rope swings. And when I look back at how wonderful my childhood was, I want the same for my own children.
Often at my parents house, the children pick up a toy which was mine or my brothers, and use it in exactly the same way that we did. My Mum will flick through her photo albums, seizing an almost identical shot, and tell me, “You did exactly the same at their age!”. And I love that, the idea that play is so timeless, that everything can come full circle, and that one day my children will be sitting exactly where I am, watching their own children play in just the same way as they did.
I think that’s why I can really relate to the Petits Filous Play Free campaign, and the ways in which they champion both Free Play and child development. When it comes to play, there is nothing better than a healthy snack to keep the children’s energy up, and I love that Petits Filous provide my children with the calcium and Vitamin D they need for healthy bones.
Calcium is so important in our diets, even more so given that our bodies cannot make it, and although other yoghurts and fromage frais contain calcium, not all have Vitamin D. It’s reassuring to me as a parent that Petits Filous contain 50% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D, especially during the Winter months when our sunlight is very limited!
A recent Change4Life campaign launched by Public Health England recommends Petits Filous with less than 100 calories per service as a heathy snack for kids.* You can read more about the nutritional benefits of Petits Filous at petitsfilous.co.uk
The great thing about Petits Filous is that they can be enjoyed with Free Play, both indoor and outdoor, at home and on days out. We love the Petits Filous pouches for easy snacks at the park, especially given it can be kept out the fridge for five hours and you don’t need a spoon, and Petits Filous little pots , ideal for little hands.
I am so looking forward to joining the Petits Filous Campaign and reminding my children that there is a whole world of fun out there beyond the television and iPad. I’m excited to be discussing our experience with the prestigious Anita Cleare, parenting expert and co-founder of The Positive Parenting Project and I’ll be back at the beginning of February to update you on how we’ve got on!
**on specific variants: Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry & Apricot Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry & Banana Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry Fromage Frais 6 x 47g,Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Fromage Frais 4 x 85g, Petits Filous Strawberry & Apricot Fromage Frais 4 x 85g,My First Petits Filous 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Magic Squares Strawberry & Vanilla 4 x 80g, Petits Filous Magic Squares Raspberry & Vanilla 4 x 80g, Petits Filous Strawberry Pouch 1 x 70g, Petits Filous Raspberry Pouch 1 x 70g,Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Yoghurt 4 x 100g
I’m working with Petits Filous and BritMums promoting the #PetitsFilousPlayFree campaign about the importance of free play.