Oh, Go Play!



Do your children ever walk into a room full of toys and sigh that they are bored? Remember when we were kids—when we were bored, we played! We played with sticks, rocks, dirt, rode bikes for hours, created secret languages, chased and tagged each other.  Nowadays, it seems that children are losing the art of “play.” Let’s bring back good old playtime!

Got 15 minutes?

Ages 5-6:

Stuck indoors? The rug is lava! In this oldie but goodie, the kids navigate between each piece of furniture in the room without touching the rug. They can use each other or other objects in the room to create bridges or devices to help them travel.

Ages 7-9:

Raid your cabinets. Do you have balloons and wooden spoons? You are good to go. This is a simple yet hilarious game to get your kids moving. You can call it balloon ping-pong or balloon paddleball, but as long as you use the wooden spoons to keep the balloons in the air, you are playing it right!

Ages 10-12:

Use your brains! Place 10 to 12 objects on a table (a book, pencil, cup, the remote control, a hairbrush, a toothpick, etc.). Give kids 30 seconds to memorize what they see. Have them close their eyes as you take an object away. What’s missing? The first person to guess correctly wins! Play another round, letting one of the kids round up the items.

Got 30 minutes?

Ages 5-6:

Dump a pile of recycled materials in front of your kindergartener and tell her to build! Suggestions include cardboard paper towel inserts, magazine clippings, tissue paper, empty tissue boxes, empty coffee cans, Popsicle sticks, etc. Add some scissors, glue, tape and paint and watch the magic happen.

Ages 7-9:

Timed house/yard scavenger hunt! Make a list of six items for the kids to find, such as something that starts with the letter B, something square, something that smells nice, something that starts with the letter G, something loud and something soft. Set a timer for one minute and GO! When time is up, have the kids present their items. If they found all six correctly in time, they get a point. Do another round!

Age 10-12:

Old favorites with a modern twist! Incorporate this generation’s love for pop and/or reality TV stars into charades or karaoke. Choose famous people that your kids know (and that you approve of their impersonating!) and have the rest of the family guess.

Got 1 hour?

Ages 5-6:

Take a nature walk! Create sticky bracelets for nature collecting. Wrap masking tape around your child’s wrist (sticky side out), and as he finds objects he wants to keep (leaves, grass, nuts), he can stick them to his nature bracelet.

Ages 7-9:

A great investment if you have children in this age group is butcher paper. It provides unlimited room for imaginations to flourish. Have them trace their bodies and then complete life-sized portraits or images of themselves, including details on their clothing, facial features, hair accessories, etc.

Ages 10-12:

Let the kids combine their dancing or acting skills with their love for technology. They can choreograph their own dance routine and record a music video or write a script and record a movie. Have them design their own costumes, incorporate a soundtrack and edit their work. Once completed, the family can sit down together and view the final cut.

Karen Johnson is a former high school English teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She lives in Olathe with her three children, ages 5, 3 and 1. Follow her adventures at 2stCenturySAHM.blogspot.com.

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