As we all know, play is an integral part of childhood. Play can positively benefit children’s cognitive development, social skills, gross skills, fine motor skill and much more. As parents, we want to support our children’s development as best we can. But sometimes it feels like we have to be aware of so much and conscious of optimising the time we have, that we may be forgetting the most important thing for our kids – FUN!
Simple, belly laugh-inducing fun.
What if we make that the marker of quality play? Belly laughs. You know the type – the side-splitting, ‘Mum/Dad must be a comedian’, tears rolling down their cheeks kind of belly laugh. There is such delight in those moments. As parents, we want to foster beautiful connections with our kids and one positive way to do this is through play.
Our role as parents in these moments is simply to be present. We want to be genuinely interested and invested in what our children love. Now, this is not always easy, especially when we are expected to engage in talking about Pokémon or Minecraft or, in my recent experience, retro Godzilla movies. But children can tell when we are not wholly invested. Kids get a sense of brim-filling joy when they have their parent’s undivided attention, even in short bursts.
KNOCK IT OUT
You will need: Some recycled bottles, a tennis ball and stocking. Put the ball in the stocking and put it on your head.
Challenge: Knock over bottles placed on the floor Who wins? Whoever knocks over the most bottles in one minute
You will need: Balloons
Challenge: Bounce 2 or 3 balloons without them falling on the floor. Look at safe ways to sabotage the other player
Who wins? Time it and see who can bounce balloons for the longest
FLOUR SCISSORS PAPER ROCK
You will need: A plate, flour
Challenge: Scissors, paper, rock – winner gets to gently push the other player’s face into flour
Who wins? Well, this one will be obvious
WHOSE LINE IS IT, ANYWAY?
You will need: Your imagination
Challenge: Take turns to add a line to a story. Think big, think silly, there’s no limit!
Who wins? Everyone
BUILD A FORT
You will need: Everything! Blankets, chairs, pillows, teddy bears…
Challenge: Build the biggest, best fort together. The challenge is getting it to stay up
Who wins? Everyone
By Kimberley Harper, Parentline Manager
Keeping families connected is important but it is also important for parents to notice when they need outside connection too. Our kids do better when parents are effectively supported. Parentline have trained counsellors available to listen and help guide you through whatever is happening. You can call 1300 30 1300, seven days a week, between the hours of 8am and 10pm or visit www.parentline.com.au for webchat or email support.