I’ve been thinking about her question a lot lately and I’ve realized that she was asking me for help and my answer wasn’t all that helpful. So, that got me to thinking….”How do I do it?”. I’ve thought about it, and here are my “pointers” for coming up with fun, playful activities to do with your children.
Look for inspiration:
Bloggers blog to inspire others. So please use their ideas to inspire your own…I do! .
Sometimes I will outright copy a bloggers idea (giving credit to them for the idea), or I will expand or change an idea a bit.
You don’t always have to come up with some great, brand new idea that no one has done before. Remember that your child hasn’t done everything that’s out there. Even though an activity may not seem all that new or unique, doesn’t mean that it won’t be fun for your child. Those oldies, like painting with water, are still around for a reason…kids LOVE them!
It all started with J digging in the closet and finding the neon cups. He played for a bit by himself until he asked me for his bouncy balls. That’s when inspiration hit!
- As I was getting out the bouncy balls I thought, “I really don’t want these bouncing all around the house, so let’s contain it”. I grabbed the cookie sheet.
- As I was getting the cookie sheet, I saw my mini muffin tins. Immediately I thought “Ha! These are the perfect size for both the cups and bouncy balls!”
- I put it all down in front of J and TADA an activity that he played with for 15 minutes!
That’s honestly how most of my stuff comes together. I follow J’s lead and think outside the box. The more you try this the better you’ll get seeing a game in everyday things.
Some things to consider when making an activity for your child.
- What are his interests? J loves bubbles, water, anything to do with transportation, and taking objects in and out of other objects (like the balls and cups). So, I try to add some of these elements into an activity for him.
- What level of messiness can your child handle? J is not huge on getting really messy like some kids. But, that doesn’t stop me from giving him some messy activities. I do know that he doesn’t like gooey things that stick to his hands. Finger painting is out…but rice play is a hit! The only way you’ll know this is to try. This is where the risk taking comes in.
It probably won’t go the way you expected it to.
So many times I’ve put together an activity for J that I KNEW he would love, but he didn’t care for it one bit. Other times, I’ll just throw something together and it turns into the best game ever, like our Marbles, Pom Poms, and Jars Activity!
The only way to know what your child likes and what games “might” be a success is to just try them. If a game fails, don’t force your child to play. Just say “oh well” and try something else. When you force it, it isn’t fun anymore for either of you.
You should also know that children will often completely change the rules of the game. As I’m putting an activity together, I always imagine the way an activity will go. Inevitably, J plays with it in a completely different way than I had imagined it. That’s ok…I just let him lead. I’m usually pretty amazed at what he comes up with. It’s all about “rolling with the punches” and letting your child lead. It’s more fun that way, and they actually learn better that way too!
What can you tolerate?
Pay attention to yourself and your limits with a mess. Change things up if it’s too stressful for you. Here’s an activity that got a bit too stressful for me. Read how I changed it up and turned it into lots of fun for both J and me!
Some parents are really good at handling messes, and others aren’t. Pay attention to what you can tolerate. Having a stressed out Mom who’s frantically sweeping up rice and getting frustrated at the mess is no fun for either the Mom or the Kid! Read all about how one Mom is working on this in her own life.
I hope that this helps some when it comes to putting together fun activities for your kids. I’m always willing to answer questions and I LOVE comments.