March 30, 2021
I’m sure your kids are like mine, they light up the moment someone gives them a toy especially if it’s something they’ve been asking for. But after that whole new shiny effect wears off, they often toss that toy aside and likely won’t ever play with it again. Or at least, that’s how it is for my children.
There are a lot of studies out there that suggest when kids are given an abundance of toys and games, they play less. Too many toys can be distracting and overwhelming to children, leading them to lose the concentration needed to learn from those toys. I see this all too often with my children. When they have fewer toys in front of them, they thrive a lot more with their imagination and creativity.
This past weekend, I decided that our family need to enjoy some experience instead of spending the whole weekend playing with toys. I booked us a hotel then we headed for Wild Animal Adventure Park in Sullivan, MO. For those of you who are native to the Midwest, you might be familiar with this park. But for those who aren’t, Wild Animal Adventure Park is not a zoo. In fact, it’s better than a zoo in my opinion. You get to see many of your favorite animals close up including wolves, white tigers, lions, and more. And of course, as a Family Photographer, I whipped out my camera and snapped some pics.
Lucky for us, the day we picked to visit the park happened to be when they were having their Art in the Park event. This absolutely thrilled my children. They had various tables set up – coloring with crayons, water marker coloring on coffee filters, painting flowering pots, tracing animal prints, and water-color painting. If there is one thing my children love, it’s anything to do with coloring, drawing, and most certainly painting. I watched as my children came alive as we saw all the animals and took part in the Art in the Park event.
You read that right – they didn’t want to leave. We had to tear them out of there. My daughter was having the time of her life that she didn’t even realize each time she lost her adored unicorn hat. But it was always brought back to us because everyone knew the spunky, sassy little girl it belonged to. For the record – we lost the hat a total of 3 times.
As we were piling them into the van, they asked to come back to the park. And we gladly said yes. For hours after leaving the park that day, all my kids could talk about were the animals they saw. We brought very little toys with us on the trip, and they really didn’t touch them – instead, they played with each other pretending to be animals. They really just lit up and thrived with creativity once we set the toys aside and allowed them to experience something. I know that they’ll remember this more than any other toy they will ever get.