I am a HUGE advocate for PLAY. Children learn SO MUCH from play…including speech and language! When parents ask me how they can best help their young children with their communication skills, one thing I always say is:
PLAY WITH THEM!
However, many parents out there are unsure what this looks like or why it is so important. So when the creators of a new product called 1-2-3 Just Play with Me contacted me about reviewing their product, I was interested in checking it out. Upon opening the box this is what I saw first:
In a world where parents feel pressured to have their babies reading my 18 months and to ensure social success before they enter preschool classrooms, PLAY is at risk. Our culture vigorously promotes educational milestones, but developmental milestones suffer. This occurs despite strong research that supports the fact that developmental, creative, and unstructured playtime actually makes children smarter! It is our job as parents to protect play for our children.
I knew when I read this that the creators have a similar mindset as I do regarding the importance of PLAY for a child’s overall development, which made me very excited to dive into this product and learn more.
Disclosure: I received this product at no cost to me for review. I received no other compensation. All opinions and images are mine.
About the 1-2-3 Just Play with me Cards
1-2-3 Just Play with Me is an “interactive set f cards to mark milestones and celebrate stages in your child’s development.” Developed by a pediatric speech-language pathologist and physical therapist (who are also mothers), this product contains a set of colorful 7×7 cards designed to help you as a parent track your child’s development and interact meaningfully during each stage of your child’s development.
The cards are divided by age and color coded for six developmental areas:
- Thinking and Learning (cognitive development)
- Talking and Understanding (speech and language development)
- Hand in hand Play (fine motor development)
- Moving and Grooving (gross motor development)
- Friends and Feelings (social and emotional development)
- Beyond Play (references and specialized tips)
Each card is two sided. On one side, developmental milestones are listed while on the back side, you will find a list of strategies you can use to help your child’s development in that specific age and developmental area. For example, the first strategy listed on the back of the Birth to Three Thinking and Learning card is:
You will not spoil your baby by responding to his cries, picking him up and consoling him. In fact, research shows that crying infants that are picked up actually cry less when they are older. Promptly responding to your baby’s cried helps your baby feel secure, and he learns to trust you
One strategy example on the 0-3 Talking and Understanding card:
Speaking Parentese (also called mothers or baby talk) is perfectly fine. You will not be teaching him an incorrect way of talking. In fact, at this age, your soothing voice is the most comforting thing to your baby, so feel free to coo away!
And here is a strategy example from the 12-18 month Hand in Hand (fine motor) card, which also is a GREAT strategy for speech & language development as well:
Babies love to watch your hands! This is a great stage to use finger puppets and songs with finger motions (“Where is Thumpkin”). As your baby sees you isolating your fingers for this creative play, she may try to imitate and join in the fun
In addition to these developmental cards, you will find over 15 additional cards that cover many other developmental and parenting topics in the first three years of life including tips on sleep, TV watching, baby sign language, toilet training, introducing solids and additional resources you may find helpful. Like any parenting book or resource, read the tips with an open mind and use what you feel is right for your family.
How to Use These Cards
The authors of this product have included a card that covers how you can use these cards. Basically, you can use these cards to keep track of what skills your child will be developing at each age range. Then, participate in the simple activities suggested in each area of development to help promote and solidify those skills while bonding with your child.
What I did, was I placed the cards out where I could see them everyday (in my family room). That way I remembered to read them often. Then when it was time for some tummy and back time, I grabbed the cards that corresponded with my baby’s age and lined them up to see what kind of activities we could do together. I definately suggest leaving the cards out where they are readily available. One suggestion they gave was to hang them on your refrigerator!
If you have a playroom like we do, that may be another great place to display the cards. Because they are colorful and pretty, you could hang them up on a little clothesline on the wall and they will double as decor!
Who is This Product For?
1-2-3 Just PLAY with Me could be a great gift for a new mom or mom-to-be (think baby shower!). However many would benefit from this product including:
- Parents of infants and toddlers
- Parents of children who developmentally are functioning under 36 months
- Speech-language pathologists who work in early intervention
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
- Day care providers
- Early childhood educators
- Early Interventionists
- Pediatricians and other pediatric specialists
- Students studying speech pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, child development or early childhood education.
Why I Like This Product
I love how 1-2-3 Just PLAY With Me covers development in so many domains, yet does so in a very simple and straight forward way. The language used is parent-friendly, which is critical. But the cool thing that makes this product stand out from your typical parenting books, is that it’s not a book. The product’s innovative, versatile and unique design really makes it stand out from the typical parenting books and products. The advantage to having this developmental information and activities in a card format allows you to remove JUST the information you want to concentrate on at that time. No more highlighting and dog-earing pages to come back to later (which, let’s face it, do we really come back to it?) You simply grab the cards you need and PLAY.
Where Can You Get Yours?
You can get your own set of these neat cards on the Milestones and Miracles website for $42 dollars. The price is a little steep in comparison to the traditional “parenting books” you come across, but the versatility of the product and the FREE SHIPPING help balance the cost.
Win Your Own Set Now!
I’m super excited that Lacy and Nicole, the authors of 1-2-3 Just PLAY with Me are generously giving away one set to one of my lucky readers! This is open to US residents only, 18 and over. No purchase necessary. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Entering in the rafflecopter below indicated you have read and accepted the full terms located in the widget. Sweepstakes open from 10/16/13 at 12am to 10/24/13 at 12am PST.