Creative Play Suggestions for Parents and Children
By Brenda J Grom
As adults we go to work every day and hopefully it is work we enjoy.
Play is the work of children and often times learning through play can
be more effective than being taught in a formal setting.
As parents we know that all children have their favorite television
programs, but recent studies have revealed that it's best that
preschoolers not spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen,
i.e. television or computer.
During a child's first five years, development proceeds at a pace
exceeding that of any other phase of life. During this time the brain
undergoes its most dramatic growth, and children rapidly develop the
cognitive capacity that enables them to become intellectually curious,
Two questions parents might ask themselves are: Is the time my child
spends in front of a television or computer enhancing their development?
Is the time my child spends not interacting with their environment a
lost opportunity for growth?
If your answer to the above questions comes down on the side of play,
the following are inexpensive and fun ideas to encourage your child as
they wean themselves from sitting in front of a screen for hours at a
1) Remove cushions from the sofa and place on the floor. Children have
great fun jumping off the sofa onto the cushions while pretending they
are diving and swimming. Do make sure all items that might cause injury
are removed from the area.
2) Beach Day! Get out the beach towels, bathing suits and balls and take
a trip. Use chairs as the vehicle of choice and designate a place that
will serve as the beach. Be sure to talk about what you see as you
travel, and especially what you see at the beach.
3) Go camping! Make a tent by draping blankets or sheets over a table.
Have children pack a picnic lunch for the family to eat while camping
inside the tent--get cozy with your children.
4) Make play dough food and play restaurant. Children can take turns
making the food and serving the customers. Use a toy cash register and
play money to pay for your meal. Note: Making your own play dough is a
lot more fun!
5) Play office by using old computer keyboards, office equipment, phones
6) Use birthday napkins you have from previous celebrations. Make a cake
and light candles while singing "Happy Birthday to Us!" If the children
help in measuring and stirring they are learning math and sequencing
during a fun family activity.
7) Make the birthday party really festive by having the children find
small objects to wrap in tissue paper. Make sure you have a large amount
of tape so the children can wrap the gifts themselves and surprise one
8) String macaroni or beads of different sizes on shoe strings or yarn
to make necklaces or bracelets to wear. If you paint the macaroni the
day before and roll it in glitter it adds a little glitz to the
activity. Be sure to make a sample so the children can see there is a
pattern to follow. This is a great introduction to patterning and
sequencing while having fun.
9) Have a backwards day by wearing mismatched clothing. This might be
best on a day you have no need to leave the house. Kids love when mom or
dad act silly!
10) If you have wooden steps to your basement you might suggest your
children paint the steps. Provide each child a small bucket with a small
amount of water and a paint brush and rags. They can take turns painting
and wiping dry and you have clean steps. My kids loved this activity.
I'm sure this isn't breaking any child labor laws, so go for it. This is
also a great warm weather outdoor activity.
Children love doing just about anything they see adults do. By including
your children in family cleaning activities it's a learning experience
and an opportunity to do something important as a family. Through this
process they learn to take ownership and pride in their surroundings.
Please visit my website
http://preschoolsource.org for preschool
information and guidelines for parents, teachers and administrators.