5 Tips to Guide Play in Everyday Situations

Let’s face it – as parents we are ridiculously busy and overstressed.  Whether you work outside the home or not, family life is a whirlwind. The morning routine is insane here getting everyone out the door.  Things settle a bit during the morning sometimes and then kick into high gear when the older kids get home from school or head to extracurricular activities.  The youngest children can land up taking a back seat (literally in the back of the car) sometimes during the afternoon chauffeur runs for parents or preparing dinner.

Here are 5 tips to guide play in everyday situations when you are busy or on the go:

  1. Try to add in learning or play opportunities into whatever you are doing.  If you are cooking, give your child some pots and pans to play with.  If you are doing laundry, give your child some balled up socks to toss into a laundry basket.
  2. Ask questions.  Ask your child what they are playing, drawing, reading or coloring.  When the child has to expand upon what they are doing you are encouraging increase conversations and explanations.
  3.  See if you can discover something new about a toy while the child is playing.  When you model discovery, children will copy your behaviors.
  4. Describe play.  While you child is playing, narrate along sometimes using descriptive language.  For example, “look at the blue eyes of the doll” to help children learn colors and body parts.  Or describe different toy cars – “the dump truck delivers dirt” or “the fire truck had long hoses to put out fires”.
  5. Bring along loose parts.  Keep some small toys, games or activities for on the go.  Children can create their own games out of the loose parts such as pipe cleaners, beads, stickers or small game parts.

Need more ideas for guided play?  Check out the Crayon Cafe.

The Crayon Cafe – Fast Food Menu

Just print and you have created an educational restaurant setting for kids to explore and play on their own.  All you need in pencil and paper! FIND OUT MORE.