Learning through play is a huge part of your child’s development. They learn fine motor skills, sharing, and the difference between right and wrong – all while they develop their imagination. So don’t skip out on the opportunity to spend quality time together!
Here are five fun ideas to help you make playtime meaningful:
Build Your Own City
Most kids dream about what they want to be when they grow up. Help them explore those ideas by acting them out. For example, you can play civil engineer with your child by using throw pillows, old wrapping paper tubes and shoe boxes to build a road system. Then “drive” toy cars, like Hot Wheels, around the city and narrate the work that has gone into building it. Remember that 96 percent of boys between 2 and 10 have a toy car, and 1 in 4 boys spend 1-2 hours a day playing with toy cars, track sets or trains. Ask your little one about his or her new city. Where do the roads lead? Are there secret passages? What materials would they use to make the road? It’s okay if they say chocolate. They’re kids… let them pretend it’s a candy city.
Make a Fort
Who doesn’t love building a fort? Seriously. Using stuff you have just lying around your house (like kitchen table chairs, couch cushions, and a flat sheet), work together to put up a fort. Pack a picnic lunch to eat inside. Bring a deck of cards and play go fish. Everything is more fun when you do it in a fort. My dad helped my sister and me make a fort out of chairs and sheets when we were in a hotel. It was a lot more fun than trying to find something good to watch on TV, and I’ll always remember squeezing the whole family in there with a lantern to play cards.
As a kid, so much of playing is pretending to be someone they look up to… or a lion. And that’s okay! Using various items around the house – or from the remnant bin at the craft store and some ideas from Pinterest – piece together an awesome costume. Then, pretend you’re lions at the zoo or astronauts on the moon. A little face painting never hurt – and your kids will think it’s so cool to get messy!
With everyone watching the Olympic Games in London, why not create a mini-games for your little one? Use chalk to make race lanes for short dashes or relays, or have a long jump contest in the front yard. For gymnastics, start by stretching and then practice somersaults and cartwheels. Not only will you teach your kids worthwhile skills, you’ll be promoting healthy exercise (and burning some calories, yourself).
Shaving Cream Canvas
Take a cookie sheet or a large casserole dish and fill it with shaving cream. Tie on some aprons or change into old clothes, and let your child draw, trace and mess around to their heart’s content. Make it educational by encouraging them to practice letters or draw shapes. Hot Wheels cars can join the fun as well – just pretend they’re caught in a snowy swamp!
What are your family’s favorite playtime activities?