Children see, experience and learn about the world through play. Playing is fun, energizing, and essential for a child’s physical, emotional and social development. Play also helps a child build relationships with other children and adults.
Here are five easy ways parents can meaningfully engage with their kids in play:
- A trip to the nearby park: Picnics do not have to be elaborate, as long as they are engaging. Comfortable fuss free clothes, a delicious picnic basket and plenty of freedom for your little one to run, hop, skip and jump can make for a perfect family time. Do involve your kid in preparing the sandwich baskets, picking out play clothes and choosing a picnic spot. Teach them new outdoor games and allow them to make their own rules. From frisbees to playing hide and seek, immerse in quality family time with your little one.
- Painting on used clothes and other household items: Kids outgrow their clothes quickly. You can use this opportunity to bring out the creative streak in you and your little one. Teach your kid to use sponges, old toothbrushes or even leaves as paint brushes on worn out clothes. As you and your little one paint your rainbow, remember to dress your kid in washable fuss-free clothes so that stains do not come in the way of your play time.
- A walk to remember: Play is important for the body as well as the mind. Nature has its own way to stimulate a child’s mind with ease. It soothes them and aids in development. Let them run around, jump in puddles, roll in the grass and collect pebbles. Long walks, nature treks and bird watching are excellent for stimulating little minds and learning.
- Pretend play: A lot of play happens outside the playground. Role playing allows children to express their emotions and practice living in a real world. Play by your kid’s rules and let him/her decide and assign roles. Take this opportunity to see the world from their perspective. Give them a bunch of clothes, toys and other resources that they can use as props and let their imagination run wild.
- Toys and aids: Stimulating aids like play dough, building blocks, puzzles etc., can trigger mind development. Kids may often need some adult assistance while playing with these. Slightly older children can be taught simple card games and magic tricks to tickle their imagination and confidence.