|The sun is the ball...By D.F., 8 years old|
We play...therefore we are. Sometimes living with children is also about enjoying to play and have fun together. And boy... let me tell you! This is my favorite "feature" of being a parent. I also enjoyed playing with my sisters and brother when I was a teenager and they were little children...When I am inspired and my boys are in the mood, we all have tons of play-based fun. Laughing together is one of the strongest bonds we have, and I hope that they will remember that when (and if) they have their own children.
I read at this very interesting article at Psychology Today, that playing with kids might have lots of implications. But even though, the positive aspect of it is the one that makes me believe that even a 5-minute participation as a "special guest" on their playing time will help us to communicate and get closer. Folks from Child Development Institute also believe that this is a positive way of enrichment on the child-parent relationship, as you can read here. One study by psychiatrists from Washington University School of Medicine found that play-based interaction between parents and toddler can help on treating hyperactivity and depression in preschoolers.
So let's play! You don't have to go to an amusement park to have fun together
... Also you don't have to play every day or for endless hours. Depending on your child(re)'s age, just a little 10 minutes will make their day. And yours too. Here are a few ideas to start playing with your child, developing a intense level of interaction and communication:
Dressing Crazy _ This is an awesome way of playing together. Sometimes we use their shirts as hats and play pretending that we are someone else, using glasses (my reading glasses...) and bandanas in their head, exploring different theater-like characters. We all make very silly voices and pretend we are in the market, in the airplane or in a restaurant. And we laugh out loud together...
Treasure Hunt _ Finding memorabilia is one of the activities we make when bored to death trapped in the house for some reason (like waiting for that package from Amazon that requires signature). Last time we found old family heirloom stuff and sometime go look for old stuff even inside their rooms . We find drawings, objects and art that they made "back in the day" when they were toddlers. Like the art that is in the opening of this post.
Sing Together _By far mine and my husband's favorite activity. We sing in that car, we sing for the old crazy cat (who loves it...) and we sing Happy Birthday together at Skype for all relatives. Start with a sing along best CD with old folk songs with timeless children's song.
Cook Together _ This is a very nice way to engage your kids in a conversation about measurements, ingredients, transformation and ... life. Many recipes that you can invite your kids to make with you are at Cook Play Explore, the blog I write with my friend Darienne since 2007.
Hide and Seek _ Still a favorite since they were toddlers. From the peek-a-boo phase up to crafty ways of making yourself invisible, this is a game that will certainly bring you together. And believe me, you will be surprise of how creative they can be...
Wooden Blocks _ If I now stop to write this post and invite my boys to build up a castle with all blocks we have they will probably say yes. I am a believer that blocks are powerful toys and stimulate all sorts of creative processes. Read what a specialist has to say about them here: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/02/12/385264747/q-a-blocks-play-screen-time-and-the-infant-mind
Crafts _ Make something together. It can be learning origami, putting stuff together, painting or drawing. Cardboard boxes are a cheap way to build something unique with no added costs. See this awesome catapult project here? http://www.ikatbag.com/2011/03/how-to-make-catupult.html
Board Games - One of ye games we like is Beat the Parents, a very cool way to make children feel like owners of a knowledge base that nobody else has in the house. So many classic games can bring relatives and children together. Monopoly and even Clue might be a good choice if your kids are already beyond 6.
Any Ball Game Counts _ Ping pong, 4 square, soccer... marbles!!! You name it. Since the beginning of times, when man discovered the fun of playing with a ball, all the games work like magic for children and grown ups.
Invite Them to Make Part of a DYI Project _ This is not just a craft. It's like invite them to pint a real wall, to make a part of building up a tree house, a fence, chicken coop or just some additions to your backyard, balcony or living room. It's a nice way of showing how playing can be serious stuff, and your little helper will love to be included in your project.
* Anna M. is POVI's content manager. Get to know more about POVI
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