HABA is urging families to unplug and Take Time to Play with items like board games and toys. But, play isn’t limited to what you do at the table or on the floor and, let’s face it, many busy parents just can’t find the time most days.
There are errands to run around town and dinner to be made at home, but there are some sneaky ways to play with your toddler in everyday situations. And it counts.
What may seem as mundane chores to us are actually opportunities for youngsters to learn and grow, so here’s a few ideas for integrating play into your average day!
1) The Grocery Game
Here’s one of many situations where little ones can get fidgety and that can turn any shopping trip into an unpleasant situation. But, take a look around the supermarket and you’ll find quite the stimulating environment for a young mind.
While you’re hunting down your staples, become “forgetful” and enlist the assistance of your little one to help you keep track by asking them to describe everything in the cart and repeat as necessary. You can also quiz on colors, telling your child you see something yellow in the cart and letting them try to spot the items like bananas, for instance.2) Master Chef
Cooking is a great way to play with your child, providing a very stimulating environment full of sights, sounds and smells. Mix up your kitchen routine by inviting your kids to lend a hand.
Dole out a portion of the prep to your little sous-chef, perhaps some batter to mix, vegetables to wash or spices to add to your dish. They’ll feel like they’re really getting involved (and in some cases they can actually be a great help!).
3) Mr. Fix-ItProjects around the house can be a pain, but your little one can be an apprentice for jobs that don’t require dangerous tools like saws and such.
Dust off the set of play tools and let them hammer away nearby. Mr. (or Ms.) Fix-It will be excited to lend a hand and you can cross something off your to-do list.
4) Game of Pick Up
Getting your kids to clean up can be quite the chore for youngsters and parents. But, you can attempt to twist it into a game.5) Go Yard
Come autumn, no kid (and some adults) can resist a long jump into the leaves. But, of course you’ll need help creating the pile.
Get yourself a ball and a target (like a basket) and play a little round of toss. Each “point” for you or your child is “rewarded” with picking up one (or a couple) items. Repeat until the room is clean.
There’s no cute name for this one. Nobody likes folding laundry. But, here’s another opportunity to get your child involved and perhaps actually helping out.
Test your little one’s organizational skills by allowing them to sort like items into piles and you can finish the job by folding. Here’s another sneaky way to play where you can test your child’s knowledge of colors, having them pull out all the blue items, for instance.
7) Green Thumbs Up
The same concept applies to outside jobs, where kids can use play objects like that bubble-blowing mower or actually dig into a gardening project. Get those knees and hands a little dirty together planting or even pulling weeds. It’s a great opportunity to develop motor skills and give a little lesson in agriculture.
8) Eye Spy
On car trips long and short, this classic still holds up in a pinch.
Of course, this is just a sampling of the many simple ways to play every day. So, now it’s your turn. How do you keep your young ones occupied on the fly? Visit the HABA Facebook page, leave a comment and see what other parents have come up with!