Whether your child is racing around the house vanquishing imaginary foes in a Superman outfit, or sitting down to lunch resplendent in a tutu, tiara and flashing heels, the good news is that through play they are boosting their cognitive development.
For this reason the much loved chocolate treat, SMARTIES is seeking to stimulate children’s imaginations, challenge their creativity and inspire a new generation of smart kids, or “SMARTIES”, with its highly anticipated annual Box-a-thon.
Exploration, Imagination and Wonder
“Parents have front row seats to some of the most imaginative theatre ever produced. These are the “magical years” – when a child’s brain is developed enough to imagine grand stories, but not yet complex enough to reason the way adults do. Play – real play – is about spontaneity, discovery, and creativity and is a lifelong skill that builds and satisfies curiosity, broadens the way children think, reduces stress and boosts energy levels,” says educator, school leader and expert in imaginative play, Gavin Keller.
“Kids have an innate sense of and desire to play. It’s about exploration, imagination and wonder. From pretending to be super heroes, princesses and wild animals to fashioning imaginary worlds out of play dough or blocks, it’s been proven that free play helps improve communication, relationships, cognitive development and even social and emotional development. That’s why SMARTIES believes in and promotes the magic of play,” explains Nestlé Corporate Affairs Director, Ravi Pillay.
Challenging Children to Think Out the Box
With this in mind and in line with its commitment to furthering creative education, Nestlé has launched the SMARTIES Out of This World Box-a-thon in an effort to challenge all pre and primary school kids to think out the box. All they need to do is showcase their imagination by creating their very own “out of this world” model using SMARTIES boxes. Once completed, children need simply to take a photograph of their inspired design and upload their pic onto www.smarties.co.za. One winner will be the lucky recipient of a family holiday for four to Orlando, Florida in the USA. Runner-up prizes include a Kindle Fire HD tablet with fun and educational games, as well as clothing vouchers to the value of R1 500.
Inspiring Colourful Creativity in Young People
As Keller, who has used neurolearning research to change a school, as well its surrounding community explains: “In recent years more emphasis has been placed on learning than on play. In addition, organised activities, computers and TV take away from this important time for young people. As parents, it is our responsibility to create the space needed for children to express themselves freely. Participating in projects like the SMARTIES Box-a-thon inspires children to make full use of their creativity and imagination. And perhaps more importantly, it allows moms and dads an opportunity to bond with their kids in a meaningful way.”
Indeed, there is a lot about the world that children aren’t yet able to grasp and as a result, they fill in the blanks, often making up their own, sometimes magical, explanations for how things work. “The Out of This World Box-a-thon creates the space for this magic to happen. We’re passionate about inspiring colourful creativity in young people and that’s what this competition is all about,” adds Pillay
Not only does the Box-a-thon create the opportunity for creative play, but art can imbue a sense of satisfaction that comes from working to create something and the ability to use and understand language effectively through art.
“Art and creativity gives children the opportunity to explore different materials, textures, techniques and projects. Art is also a means to enhance students’ employability through up-skilling, and a means of developing the ability to interact with the world around them and build and fine tune skills needed for self-expression and communication. It is for this reason that getting creative is so important for children’s development”, explains Michelle Constant, CEO of Business and Arts South Africa.
Engage in Creative and Imaginative Play
From a SMARTIES-breathing dragon, a fantastical sea creature to a fairy princess from another world, the colourful confectionary is inviting children to indulge in their sense of free play. The competition is also aimed at educators by providing them with an opportunity to engage in creative and imaginative play with their children. The competition starts on April 15th and ends June 30th 2014. Winners will be announced on August 8th, 2014 on www.smarties.co.za.