Life with school aged kids is tricky. The school year is almost over and I still haven’t gotten the hang of balancing our time. The last few months have been full of schedules, studying sight words, and getting in our scheduled reading time. I’m embarrassed to admit that downtime and playtime frequently revolve around the TV. It’s a chance for all of us to catch our breath. I know that too much time is spent on the sofa, but I have been in a rut on how to encourage creative, new ways to play for my girls.
Rewind to a couple of weeks ago when I read this recent post. I found myself nodding along as I was reading about how I, too, wanted to be a fun parent with fun ideas. Her ideas were so simple and a few of them were perfect for my girls…. Why hadn’t I come up with those before!? Right then, I put it on my to do list to follow her lead and come up with a few more ideas that would be a little more appealing to my girls since we don’t have any toy cars and trucks around here. These ideas are in no way for girls only. In fact, I know little boys who would probably enjoy all of these!
Pet Shop – We have a plethora of stuffed animals that get loved on at bedtime, but why not play with them during the day? I gather up an armload of animals, play cash register, and piggy banks and let my kids set up shop. This is a fun way for them to take turns as customer and store owner, and it can easily transition over to playing vet when I give them a box of bandaids.
School – Our easel hasn’t seen crayons and paint for quite some time, but it makes a great set up for a pretend classroom. My girls can play together, by taking turns as the teacher, or by themselves, and having a classroom full of dolls. Either way, it’s usually a great way to see what they’ve been working on at school without asking the dreaded question “what’d you learn today?”
Obstacle Course – This is a great way to use up some energy! Either indoors or outdoors, use what you can find to make an obstacle course for your kids. For example, a hula hoop that they have to run circles around, a jump rope laying out to “balance” on, and chairs to crawl under. Once they complete your course, let them have a chance to create a course for you!
Create a Castle – Building with Legos are always a hit at my house, but pairing them with other toys rarely happens. We have our fair share of princess figurines, so I simply ask my daughters to create a castle for their royal friends. Their imaginations take off as their dolls “come to life” and play in the magical castles that were created. (And if there are any blocks leftover, we build stables for the ponies.)
These are now on my creative ideas list when my girls just don’t want to do anything but sit on the sofa.
What are your go-to ideas?