The Importance of Play (Part 2)

Image tagA few weeks ago a shared a post about the Importance of Play as part as a fabulous “Family Wellbeing Campaign” from Actimel. I shared four ideas to encourage more play and will be sharing another four of them here today.

You Time


“You Time”, comes rather “timely”, as Sun Scholars and I are launching a 100 Days of Play via Sun Scholars and Life at The Zoo – this focuses in particularly around YOU making more time to play… Though I am keen to help children find their own way to play, the 100 Days of Play is about finding time in your busy lives (because yes, we are all very busy – life never seems to stop) to find time for regular play – wea re told by Sun Scholars’ girls that yes indeed this is a good idea.

So what is YOU time.

Simply You. Yes. You. Switch off your phone. Switch of the computer. Sit down on the floor with them. Let them choose. You play what they want. Let them play with you. And you play with them. For 5 minutes or for 20 minutes! A lot of the play suggestions so far focus on activities and ideas that in many respects are directed by you. You are organising them into structured play (apart from the boredom topic of course) and if you are like me, you are likely to be doing other things at the same time  – e.g. sorting out the children’s supper or tidying up a little as go. But what children often want is just YOU. And how much more valuable is the “you time”, if they also get to choose what you do? This is one is about quality time together, direct by your child.

This is a great opportunity to focus on the individual needs of your children – give them some quality one on one time.

Get Physical


Get the mind and body connect. Play isn’t just about sitting down and “playing” board games or with your tinker toys. Play is should also be active. Get physical either indoors or out. Indoors you can simple games that have simple instructions –  e.g. play “Simon Says”.  Get the children walking up and down the room, doing star jumps or fetching something from another room. Or get 3 smallish toys and see if you can teach yourself to juggle. Getting active invigorates the body and mind. Or head outdoors, grab a ball and head to the local park – don’t worry if they can’t “play tennis yet”, just have a go. Or get a ball and kick it about making make shift goals with bags and coats. Give them the opportunity to try different things.

Make your own


Clearly this is an area that I love. We love making things and we love playing with the things we make. I challenge you to get creative and make your own toys – not only are you stimulating your child’s creativity by making a simple toy, but as they are making their imagination will already start whirrring away… We love making TP Roll people and animals and then putting on a little show the them.

Classics - Dens


Don’t forget the childhood classics, such as making dens, hide & seek and Teddy Bear’s picnics. There is a reason why they are “classics” – kids just loved playing these and sometimes they need a little help to discover them for themselves. Den building is one of my kids’ favourite rainy day activities.. Get a small table or some chairs, cushions and throws and see what you can build. Not only will they have fun building it (and learning about “structures and how things fit together”), but they will also have fun playing “in it”.  Or set out a teddy bear’s picnic – use pretend or toy plates, get the favourite stuff toys out and play. What food will you be eating? Will there be juice? Will there be music. Let the children take it from there.

I hope these and the previous Play Ideas are enough to get you going and thinking about how you would like to encourage your children to play more.

More about the Family Wellbeing scheme

Actimel have created a fantastic Family Wellbeing resource site. The scheme is focussing on 6 areas of family life and aims to help people improve on these areas:

Eat – Play – Move – Connect – Learn- Give

Every two months Actimel is showcasing ideas for every category (you may have guessed, I looked after PLAY!). In addition, the have a fantastic Family Wellbeing Fund open to parenting bloggers! This is an opportunity to apply for funds in each of the categories – entry is simple – write a paragraph on your parenting blog, explaining how you would use the money to make your Family Wellbeing better in the category you are entering for.

You can apply for the next month “Move” in the coming weeks – be sure to keep an eye out for submissions in May!

And now it is time for some play.