Go along with your children on their adventures, and let their creativity rule.
When children embark on an adventure, it opens up their minds, widens their experiences and offers them an avenue to go beyond their boundaries.
“Children have wild imaginations and they can come up with several games just by using their minds. For example, a child may sit on a chair and imagine it to be a car or a plane.
“As parents, instead of saying no and reprimanding them for messing up the furniture, we have to play our role by encouraging and joining them on these little made-up adventures,” says Kits4Kids Foundation founder Prof Dr Eric Lim.
He categorises adventures as intellectual adventures and contemporary adventures.
According to Lim, when children use their imagination and play using objects around the house, it’s intellectual adventure. Intellectual adventure also includes building blocks, colouring pictures, playing outdoor games and embarking on activities that stimulate their minds.
“During this stage of a child’s life, they are able to process information, reason, develop language skills and enhance other aspects of brain development,” says Lim. adding that creating a sense of adventure helps in the cognitive development of a child.
“Contemporary adventure, on the other hand, is when a child seeks adventure through digital devices such as playing computer games and using other smart devices to keep them entertained. While this type of adventure also stimulates brain functionality, it can lead to addiction.
“This is where parents need to learn to strike a balance between digital-game-time and non-digital-game-time. However, sometimes both these adventures can take place in a day, to offer a child variation,” says Dr Lim during a recent Tiger Biskuat NutriFruit’s briefing on “Living an Adventurous Life with Your Child”.
Actress Sharifah Sofia Syed Hussein is a believer in adventure and she encourages her two daughters to play out their imaginations.
“My eldest daughter, Sharifah Ariana, has a wild imagination. She goes around our house creating play spots in different corners and turns each spot into a fun location. For instance, one day she decided to take me to the beach and used clothes from our laundry basket to make sandcastles,” shares the amused mother.
To Sharifah and her daughters, their imaginative play is what defines an epic adventure.
“I let my children do what they like as long as it doesn’t endanger them.
“When I was a kid, my life was full of adventure. From little things like playing hide and seek, to climbing a tree and hiding in the drain, each day was a new discovery.
“Even though we live in the digital era, I am keen to expose my daughters to more than computer games and show them the world outside,” says Sharifah who professes to having a vivid imagination.
Parents these days are, however, wary of letting their children run free outdoors. Lim suggests parents get together to organise activities so they will be better able to watch over their children.
“Instead of limiting our kids from going outside on bike rides, for example, what we can do is seek help from other parents who are willing to oversee a play date.
“Look for homemakers, or even teenagers looking to make babysitting money, to help out. If we form a group and stay together, we can offer our children the freedom they want and at the same time keep them safe,” says Lim.
It is important for parents to understand that creating adventures will also help children reach their full potential.
“As parents, we must ensure we do everything in our power to unleash our children’s unique qualities,” says Lim.
Sharifah often tries to lead her own mini family adventures.
“A child’s creativity should not be limited and they should be allowed to explore and discover new things. Put your smartphones away for a couple of hours a day and use that time to create simple adventures with your children which you can be part of, too.
“There are many ways parents can ensure their children have exciting, memorable adventures and the best part is most of it can be done in the comfort of your own home.
“An indoor scavenger hunt is an adventure children and their parents can embark on during rainy days. Have a picnic or camp out in your own backyard.
“On lazy days, try coming up with new recipes in the kitchen with your children.
“Let their creativity run wild and you’ll be amazed at the outcome,” says Sharifah, adding that fun adventures are also great for bonding with her children.