It's all too tempting these days to plonk our toddlers in front of the tv and put a Wiggles dvd on for them. I've not doubt every mother feels they need to just have a few peaceful minutes to themselves, every now and then. God knows we all need a break!
Playing, for children is easier in some ways these days than it was, say 40 years ago. Everything is computerised now, or electronic, it either talks, walks or in interactive in some way. Our children can certainly learn a lot from these kinds of toys but a lot of children are growing up and not knowing the joys of creating their own toys and making their own entertainment.
I find it amazing to see when a child face lights up when they are are given the contents of the Tupperware cupboard to play with, or a wooden spoon and a saucepan. They can spend ages banging around, stirring, opening and closing containers. We spend a lot of money buying these 'must have' educational toys, which are great, but often they will get bored with them within a few minutes.
I remember seeing the joy on one of my daughters faces when I spent an afternoon with her making a bus for her teddies, just out of a big box, string, sticky tape and paints.
We spent ages painting windows on it, drawing a picture of the driver, making wheels, and seats. Then we added a string so she could pull them all along, something so simple and she had fun for weeks with it, until it finally fell to pieces. Another favourite thing was to get a packet of seeds and plant them in the garden, it cost next to nothing, but she got weeks of pleasure out of them, weeding, watering and watching them grow, then finally picking them.
Let's not forget about the cheap activites that we can provide for our toddlers, things that can be done with a bit of time, a little patience and a lot of love.