Whether it’s vacation time, the daily witching hour or just anytime that you are feeling frustrated with cranky, whingy or bored kids, having a few tried and tested play ideas up your sleeve can work really well to help break the tension – redirecting your children with some purposeful play and giving you time to breathe and finish whatever it is you are trying to get done. I most certainly have a number of favourite, simple activities and play ideas that I call upon whenever I feel one or both of my girls needs distraction or re-direction.
So this month you have Parent Smarter homework – I encourage you to sit down and make a list of 10-20 easy-to-pull together activities that are suitable for ALL or EACH of your children. Your list will be unique, just as your children and their interests are unique – what inspires my six year old girl might be of absolutely no interest to your six year old girl – which is why I haven’t done the homework for you Your activity choices will also be governed by the ages and developmental stages of each of your children. If you are not sure where to start, check out the lists of activity ideas that I have included below – I have sorted them according to developmental stage though you will see there is some overlap. If you click through on the green links you will be able to find more details for each suggestion.
Once you have written it down, put this list somewhere that you can refer to it quickly and easily. You might like to also collect all or some the items needed for each activity and pop them into a basket at the ready.
Activities & Play Ideas for Kids of All Ages
For babies and toddlers
- Active Baby Play Activities
- Tape Loops
- Create a treasure basket: see these examples – exploring sound, exploring shiny things, more about treasure baskets
- Sticky art
- Create a photo play purse
- Starting Out With Water Play
- Also check out, Zero to Two: A Book of Play for more ideas
For toddlers and preschoolers
- 5 Ways to Find 5 Minutes of Mum Time
- 5 (More) Ways to Find 5 Minutes of Mum Time
- 3 Simple Imaginative Play Ideas for Tots
- 6 Ways to Play with Toy Cars
- Box and tape construction
- I love playdough as a tension breaker. Providing a different set of ‘tools’ to work with helps to keep playdough interesting for children who play with it often.
- 5 Ways With Body Outlines
- Getting Little Bodies Moving
For preschoolers and bigger kids
- Downloading a new audio story works really well with Immy and has since she was three or four years of age. The added benefit of audio stories – they have to be still to hear them
- Send them out on a texture hunt
- Sticker Drawings
- Make a set of simple puppets
- Set them the task of making a chatterbox
- Make modelling clay/plasticine pictures
- Painting with watercolours: once children know the process for painting with watercolours it can be a nice, quiet activity.
- Set them a 30 minute challenge.
- Cooking: set them the task of making afternoon tea.
Hand over one of the following printable lists and let them choose!
Ideas for Managing With Children of Different Ages
Visit the previous Parent Smarter, Not Harder posts by clicking on an image below…