Do you ever feel like you are in a rut or play the same things over and over with your kids? Or maybe you start to run out of ideas of things to do to help them stay active. Well one solution is to let them come up with ideas. I am always amazed at what the kids will come up with when I let them use their imagination. Sometimes, they can be a little rusty but questions and guiding rather than telling can get their imagination sharpened pretty quick. Even the little ones you can let them choose a toy and then guide them to lead the play.
When I was home for Christmas last year my nephew was there and he was ready to play. He didn’t care that I had just gotten off a red-eye flight and wanted some much needed sleep. He was ready for us to be pirates and fight the bad guys and we couldn’t step on the lava (the carpets covering the hard wood floors). One minute we were on the same side and the next I was the bad guy and then we were friends again. We made it to the boat (his bed) but unfortunately it was broken so he needed to use his tools to fix it. At this point I was able to close my eyes (especially since I was on the bed) and informed him that I was guarding the prisoners (my two dogs who were coerced onto the bed with us – a twin bed I might add). It was amazing to see his imagination run away with only a few words or questions from me. And, we did climbing and running and hopping and crawling and tiptoeing and rolling during our adventures as pirates.
Now, you can definitely start simpler than that. For example a little girl I work with and I go on an adventure each week while we practice bike riding. It involves going over mountains (bumps in the sidewalks) and going over rivers (streams from sprinklers). I suggest the adventure but I let her lead and I ask questions like ‘what do you think we’ll see on the other side of the mountain’. Sometimes our adventures lead us to the park and we get to pretend on the play structure.
If you can’t make it outside use the cushions from your couch or even just the couch and the floor and a toy and let your child’s (and your) imagination run wild. I bet you’ll surprise yourself with how much fun you will have and you can work on their gross motor skills at the same time!
I would love to hear your stories of imaginative play and activities with your kids – please share your great ideas.