Play is vital for our connection with our kids. Having that light, playful, fun presence is so imperative for building connection!
When my coaching clients are exploring their own childhoods, I’ve noticed no one says, “Gee, my parents were just so happy all of the time!”
Of course not. Most adult memories are of parents that were serious, stern, angry, disconnected, distracted, unhappy, depressed, etc.
The natural state for children is joy, and it is for us as well – and play is a fantastic way to get back to that state and deeply connect with our kids.
So, here is a list of 25 fun things to do with your kids – almost anytime, anywhere – that cost nothing:
- Play chase/tag (adjust level of resistance per age/ability). Hint: they should almost always just narrowly escape!
- Play the tickle monster: similar to chase, but you will catch them eventually, give one little tickle*, then pick them up to “eat them” or “carry them to your cave”
- Play with dolls
- Play with stuffed animals as puppets
- Play hide and seek
- Create a scavenger list, indoors/outdoors (use pictures or work together for small kids)
- Be the student and play school
- Go “camping” at bedtime
- Play catch
- Go on a bug hunt
- Jump in the leaves
- Stomp in puddles
- Climb trees
- Play “Simon Says”
- Ride bikes
- Play “Marco Polo”
- Play flashlight tag
- Have a picnic and help THEM gather/make the food
- Play grocery store
- Have a dance party
- Play Stop and Go (especially during undesirable task like having nails trimmed)
- Undersea bath adventures – see what sinks and floats
- Paint the tub
- Build a snowman
- Go sledding
- Don’t stand when you can fall over!
- Don’t talk in a normal voice when you could talk in a funny voice!
- Don’t talk when you could sing!
*A note on TICKLING: In general, avoid tickling other than a quick poke or tickling as you would tickle an infant. NEVER hold them down and tickle them against their will. “Tickling can be fun, but it can also feel to children as if things are out of control. Tickling can be confusing; the laughing seems to mean children are enjoying it, even if they may not be.” – Lawrence Cohen, PH.D., Playful Parenting
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