Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sharing 10 ideas for incorporating fun and play into your child’s daily activities

Some days I feel like my days are all about changing poopey diapers, feeding my family and cleaning up afterwards. At night I crash and look forward to starting the whole routine over with a few new twists thrown in. The truth is, that is no fun. And I am sure it isn't fun for my kiddos either.

 The new television network, The Hub, launched on October 10, 2010. The Hub is a NEW TV channel for kids and families where great things come TOGETHER! They hope to inspire, entertain, and engage kids, while also bringing families together. In celebration of their launch,TwitterMoms and The Hub want bloggers to think about the creative ways we incorporate fun and play into our daily activities for our kids. My two are little... so there are so many fabulous ways to do this. The more fun and creativity we put into our standard routine, the better my kids tend to behave. It is a weird correlation, but it works. So, out of all the goofy, fun and crazy things I have tried with my kiddos, here are my super top 10!
1. Get the Wiggles Out! Sometimes kids just need to get up and move. There are so many great opportunities during the day to just get up and dance. I dance to songs, tv show theme songs, commercials... and sometimes I just dance during dinner prep. My toddler just loves this! He can only hold still for short amounts of time, so this is a great cure.

2. Explore Outside. Whether you have a yard or not, you can benefit from outdoor adventures. Go outside in the stroller, go to the park, or even watch the ants in the driveway. There are so many great activities for outside exploration. We like to go searching for "treasure"... things like leaves, stones and even bugs are the perfect hidden treasure.

3. Play with Your Food. Okay, maybe not as a food fight, but you can make lunch a lot of fun by designing your child's favorite character or animals out of their lunch. Better yet, get the kids involved in their own culinary art. For simple fruit, their Mimi made a Snoopie face out of a pear half, mandarin orange section and olive. When I was little my favorite daycare activity was finger painting with pudding. I don't think tons of it got onto the paper, but it was a great sensory play activity.

4. Build Something. This is my son's favorite! Chairs, cushions and blankets are all this is necessary for your own castle, fort, tent, or anything your heart desires. Building the structure can be just as fun as playing in it. I love that this is the perfect activity for any day and clean up is fairly easy. This is so nice for those rainy fall or cold winter days.

5. Dress Up. I know I have mentioned this several times on my blog, but dress up is a fabulous way to encourage creative play. We have a box filled with assorted goodies I have been collecting for the past couple of years. Look no further than the dollar store, or the local thrift shop for inexpensive ways to build up your collection. We pull out this activity when we have a free afternoon and no idea how to fill it.

6. Make the Average Chore Fun! You don't have to go any farther than your own imagination to make the simplest chores fun. My son likes to pretend he is a bulldozer or dump truck while we clean up his room. Since I have to do this anyway I might as well get him involved. Sometimes it is timed, sometimes we are just role playing, but it does get done.

7. I Spy. An oldie, but goodie. I love that it can be played anywhere. With my son we try to keep it simple. He is only 2, but likes to find numbers, letters, colors and simple items. He is not ready to think of items himself yet, but I am sure it will be soon. This is often used when we are waiting in line, or waiting to be seated at a restaurant.

8. Tea Time! We love snacks here, and it is even more fun when we turn snack time into a mini manners lesson/play tea party. My kids love pouring the teapot and putting their pinkies up as they sip tea. We also love the chance to put on a fun hat or a feather boa. Every tea party guest loves to look and feel their best!

9. Shopping Hide & Seek - Whoo-hoo milk? I saw this idea on Super Nanny, she made a small magnetic board for each child with magnetic food pictures. The children each had a small list of items to look for. It is a great game. My kids are so interested in what is on the shopping list and the pictures they can understand. They are so excited to find all of them items.

10. Simon Says. This is a game you can use in most situations. It is great for role modeling an action like cooking or putting together a plate for dinner. Use things like, "Simon Says put the mandarin oranges in the top right of the plate." My son always wants to get this right, though I keep it simple for hims since he is so young. Usually if he follows all the directions, I give him an extra piece of his favorite food... a grape, or olive, etc. Or try it for getting dressed... "Simon says to get a pair of socks and a shirt out of the closet." The only drawback is you might end up with a unigue look for the day.

Simple isn't it? All of these ideas can be incorporated into a *ahem* usually boring day. They make the daily grind more enjoyable for the kids, and in turn it ends up being more enjoyable for me. And you know what they say about Mama being happy? I hope there is a tip in there you can use. I would love to hear your ideas. What do you do to incorporate fun and play into your day?

*Disclaimer - I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and The Hub blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here
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