Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playing and Learning

There are many things we can teach our kids while playing with them. One thing that we should always keep in mind is that we are meeting the child where he is, so we keep our playing at their level. It's also important to remember that playing for playing sake is appropriate and important. We don't need to turn every moment into a "learning" moment. Let your child lead. Play as long as you are both having fun. That being said, here are some ideas for ways to instill play into your day.

Toddlers and beyond:

Peek a boo...really does this ever get old? (Later it will be called hide and seek, but it's still the same concept.)

Rolling a ball.

Banging on pots and pans. I prefer empty Floger's Coffee Containers.

Shakers. (These are easy to make out of any easy to hold non-breakable container. Just fill 1/3 full with rice. If you have two containers, fill another 1/3 full of beans. They make different sounds.)

Clothespins and cottonballs: Have the child pick up the cottonballs using the clothespins. A simple variation is having them pick up the cottonballs with a large serving spoon. (Do not leave the child unattended with the cotton balls.)

Make a city with all the boxes and containers in the recycling bin! (Still a favorite around here!)

Walk on a log...over a puddle (for extra fun and drama.)

As your children get older:

Card games such as Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Black Jack, Slap the Jack and Concentration.

Concentration Game: (Name all the things you can in one category. Example, colors, mammals, car makers, cities in the U.S., Countries in Europe, Songs by the Beatles etc.)

Jump Rope


Tic Tac Toe

Bake or Cook with your child.

Teach them to slice and peel safely.

Have your child help with folding laundry, sweeping floors etc.

Have your child sort the laundry by color.

Plant a vegetable garden or a flower garden

Build a city with block or Lego's

Set up a grocery store, a stage, a doctor's office.

Take it outside:

A pick up baseball game

A bike ride

A roll down a grassy hill

Potato or pillowcase races

Build a tepee

Make a fort

Chase butterflies

Get disposable cameras and let them have fun with it.

Make your own Corn Husk or Rag Dolls.


I could go on and on and on. Everything is play and learning happens...ALL. THE. TIME.

(Making bird feeders)