Galt Paint a Tea SetParents are always asking me for the “best” toys for a certain age that encourage great play and learning. I recently heard a term I liked, “playful learning” which is learning through the fun in my opinion!

Today my little friend and I got out Galt Toy’s “Paint a Tea Set,” opened the paints and got to work. She loved the bright colors and easy to open containers as she painted polka dots, stripes and solid plates. In order to have some pieces that were dry for immediate play, we took a break from painting and started our tea party. She looked at me and said, “I have a doll” and disappeared to gather up her princess doll and place her in front of a cup and plate. “Here’s some tea,” she said as she poured from the tea pot. “Who wants some sugar in their tea?” I was offered some hilarious pretend food, and believe me, it wasn’t cookies and cakes.

As a parent or caregiver, it is important to set out a great toy or activity embedded with play potential and sit back and let your child lead the play. You are the Producer, not the Director of play. Kids learn more when they are driving the play, not the toy and not the adult. We can step in occasionally and ask a question or offer a suggestion to raise the level of play or take it to a new related theme but that should be minimal. Besides, what could be more fun than a DIY tea set that becomes an essential tool for pretend play and story telling?

“Paint A Tea Set” is a 2014 PAL Award winner by Galt Toys