Written by: Shani Fowler
It is important to play with our children but sometimes things get in the way don’t they? We get caught up on making the tea, sorting out the laundry, cleaning the house. We might find ourselves plonking the tots in front of their favourite DVD whilst we get on. I know I have been guilty of doing this sometimes. But it is important to interact and play with our little ones, it is mutually beneficial. Here are some ideas for educational games and activities to play with your child,leave the washing and have some fun!
It depends on the age of your toddler as to the appropriate games to hold their interest. Don’t bother setting up the monopoly board for your toddler (although it is tempting at least you would be ensured of that long awaited win!)
For the Younger Ones:-
If your toddler is at the age where they are trying their best to get on their feet and walk a pushing and pulling game can be good. Get a sturdy small stacking box or little table and as they pull up on it pull it a little getting them to keep up to it by walking forward. With a little encouragement they will push as you pull and build their confidence to eventually go it alone.
A good old peek-a-boo never fails does it? Hide under the bed sheets, behind the tea towel or under the chair. “Where am I? – Here I am? – Every time it gets them – never fails to raise a gummy smile.
Clapping along to songs – you can clap along to most nursery rhymes and songs; it improves the toddler’s co-ordination and vocabulary as well. You could even put a songs DVD on and clap away to that.
As they get Older:-
Toys that inspire are great too. A little cash register with attached conveyer belt is great for capturing their imagination, you could play shops all day long. Teaching them how to interact with the customer, dealing with money and also the all the different sorts of things you can get from the shops. All those transactions could simulate the real thing for us too and give us satisfaction and curb our spending splurges – well you never know!!
Playing doesn’t always mean messing about or having a doll or model to play with, it includes reading too. Get their favourite book down and read. Act it out, be animated and enjoy it yourself too, a bit of fiction never did any of us any harm.
Simulate a situation – get a stamp and pad or print set and play post offices, stamping the letters and bills with pretty prints. You don’t always need toys though; get the pans out and play cafes (obviously supervision is key). I used to play cafes with the frying pan by pretending to fry my mum’s rollers (of course they were sausages). Not sure she appreciated the flattened state in which they were returned though! Or take plastic plates out into the garden and have a little tea party, take the teapot and some water and be their guest.
Obviously there are the parks but they are more likely to gravitate to the kids that are already there rather than play with you. Are there any woods or nature reserves nearby? You could get a box or container and fill it up with all the interesting things that can be found such as interesting stones, pine cones and pretty leaves – then once home can make drawings of them (if you are not too tired from all that clean fresh air).
If you do go to the park resist the temptation to sit on the park bench catching up with your texts whilst they little ones entertain themselves. Take a ball or a bike where play can be on a more one to one level – remember this is parent child playtime.
Play time can be anytime and bath time is the ultimate play time, there is not much kids like more than water, bubbles and something that floats – get them immersed in that bath with a good bath toy. Swish the water and have some fun. There are all sorts of toys now that kids can have in the bath, a great way to have fun and have and getting them washed with no fuss at the same time!
Playing with children is all important to not only their development but to mutual bonding too. It easy to get caught up in the domesticity of life but put a little time aside and have a little play with them. It goes by in the blink of an eye and you don’t get these precious years back.