Play has a wide range of benefits for children. Through play, children release energy, reduce stress, and learn about life. They learn problem-solving skills, exercise creativity, use their imagination, and master new concepts. For positive parents, play has another vital role – it connects parent and child, and we know that connection is the parenting key. When we take the time to play with our children, we connect on a deeper level. Play offers us the opportunity to gain trust, to laugh and release tension, and to get to know our children better.
As the world whirs around our heads at a dizzying speed each day, we find ourselves rushing through just to get the basics done. Who has time for play? After all, there are much more pressing things on our to-do lists, right? Here are some simple and fun ideas to incorporate connection-building play into your everyday routines.
Bubble Warrior or Princess
You have to run that dish water anyway, so turn this typically-mundane task into playtime by inviting your child alongside you with his or her favorite toys. Between washing plates, pick up an action figure and dunk it in the bubbles, then have a pretend battle in the water.
Bonus: Your child sees that doing dishes doesn’t have to be such a chore.
Conquering Mount Laundry
A stack of folded towels becomes a looming mountain filled with adventure! Can Dora reach the top in time to save Boots? Not if the sock monster reaches her first! Look out for the avalanche! Extra time it takes to get the laundry folded – about 10 epic minutes. Love tank refilled? Yes! That’s how we get two birds with one stone.
Bonus: She’ll probably be more cooperative about putting away her laundry after this.
The Hungry Broom
Mostly, the Hungry Broom is out for dust bunnies, but if he sees a child, that child better run! The Hungry Broom will chase after him, so he’d better run and hide. If he stays out of sight, the Hungry Broom will go back to eating dust bunnies. Alternatively, we play “I’m a little crumb” when I vacuum. Same idea, but my kids are crumbs that must run away from the vacuum! Giggles abound and the floor gets cleaned.
Bonus: You can let your child be the Hungry Broom while you run and hide. Just don’t stay hidden too long. They will totally catch on to you if you do that. Trust me.