When kids want their adult to join them in playing “house” or “hide and seek,” it can get old really fast for the adult. Between taking care of the home, a job and the kids, it sometimes seems unthinkable to sit down and just play with our children. There’s so much else that needs to be done! Yet play is very important to children. It’s not just amusement; it’s how they bond with parents, with each other and how they absorb so many valuable skills. What just seems like playing around is really learning about social interaction, sharing, taking turns and engaging imagination.
HABA USA believes in the power of play. Our wonderful toys are all about encouraging imagination, skills and pure fun.
Here are 10 ideas for how to fit more play into your interactions with your children.
1. Recognize the importance of play in your child’s education and give it priority.
2. Understand that you don’t have to devote hours to play. Short spurts of 15 minutes at a time are enough.
3. Build playtime into your daily schedule in the same way you schedule mealtime, naptime and story time into a day.
4. Figure out what you WOULD enjoy playing or playing with. Games such as Animal Upon Animal require skill for all players, even adults.
5. Turn work into play. You want to play with your child but the housework is calling. Turn that into play by singing silly songs with your child while you take turns sweeping. For instance, while you are grilling dinner, they can play with their Grill Set Sizzle Expert complete with child-size grill, food and tongs.
6. Outside, add jump ropes, blocks, rings and balls to playground equipment to create an obstacle course that requires sliding, swinging, throwing, hoola-hooping, etc. If you aren’t up for joining your child on the course, you can be their biggest cheering section every step of the way.
7. Introduce your child to some of the games of your youth like jacks, Red Rover, London Bridges and Twister. Your children will enjoy seeing you be so silly. Marble Ball Tracks were always fun and still are.
8. Turn story time into playtime by acting out the stories with gestures and funny voices. It’ll make reading that one story for the umpteenth time a little more enjoyable for you. As your child becomes more familiar with the story, they can act out parts too.
9. Repetition is part of development for children. They see nothing wrong with stacking the blocks 20 times just to watch them fall again.
10. Remember that soon enough, your children will be older and won’t care about involving you in their activities. This is precious time so revel in it while it lasts!