To drop your child at my house to play is to leave structure behind. Do I supervise them? Of course! Do I feed them? Obviously. One thing I won’t do, however, is micromanage the play.
By now you know that I’m big on imaginary play and creativity, and I believe in giving kids the space they need to play. Is my house a disaster most days? Absolutely. Does it make me crazy? Not so much. Yes, we put things away and we all pitch in to keep the house clean. But I gave up on the idea of the Pottery Barn perfect house long ago. I would much rather have the fun house – the place where kids can be kids. The place where fairies live in small houses and football players take over the living room floor. Childhood is short – play while you can (that’s what I tell myself, anyway.)
This approach doesn’t work for everyone, though, and I understand that. Not everyone wants their couch turned into a campground or their living room taken over by an animal safari on any given day. And not everyone wants to leave a playdate to chance.
The truth is that some kids love unstructured playdates, but some don’t. Some want to get lost in imaginary play while others want to do something more tangible. Some want a mix of the two. That’s where Avery & Austin come in.
Co-founded by two moms who have hosted approximately one bazillion playdates between them, Avery & Austin takes the guesswork out of planning the perfect playdate. The idea behind Avery & Austin is to pack everything you need, including a healthy (and NUT free!) snack for two, into one box and deliver it to your doorstep. The theme changes from month to month, and the crafts are fun and creative and easy for the kids to do independently.
My kids had a blast creating bird houses and bird feeders! They were instantly lost in a conversation about what kinds of birds might visit their houses as they painted the afternoon away. They came up with names for their new bird friends and discussed perfect placement of the bird houses.
What I loved about this craft is that it inspired creative thinking beyond the craft in their hands. They made big plans for a bird neighborhood and brainstormed ways to keep the squirrels away.
We saved the bird feeders for another day. The beauty of these boxes is that the crafts are projects – the kids won’t just rush through them in a few minutes. They can take their time to create and engage in playful conversation while they craft. The bird feeders were a huge hit! We actually had enough supplies to make three, and the kids got creative and used different shapes.
Incidentally, the birds loved these – we had quite a few days of visitors!
Sometimes crafts can mean a bit of a headache for the mom in charge, but these were easy to use and the kids worked fairly independently.
Another great perk? Each box contains a special gift for mom! How sweet is that?
You can check out their subscription options here.
These boxes are great for playdates, but I would also recommend them for siblings and for time spent with grandparents. They are full of fun and creative activities that don’t require an expensive and time-consuming trip to your local craft store.
Learn more about Avery & Austin here and start planning your next playdate today!
And one more piece of amazing news….
I have a coupon for you! Use the coupon code below to get $15 off your first purchase! This coupon expires on June 30 – so get to it!
Coupon code: PRACTICALPARENTING15OFF
Disclaimer: My friends at Avery & Austin sent me this box to review. All opinions are my own (or those of my children!) We love Avery & Austin and we think you will, too!