Play: Our New Year’s Challenge

Parents: Participate in floor play time for 15-30 minutes a day with each child.

PlayJust like that, another year has gone by. Our challenge to you in 2020 is to get down on the floor and play with your child for 15 minutes of uninterrupted, technology free, one on one time, every day.

Life gets busy, we know it, but in as little as 15-30 minutes, you are supplying your growing child with quality speech, language, sensory, and motor opportunities critical to their development. Therefore, take away the distractions of the TV, phone, and tablet, push those battery powered toys away and focus on the interaction between you and your child. It doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Here are some easy ideas to try:

Play Ideas

Kids Under 1:

  • Make faces and silly sounds back and forth. Watch their imitation!
  • Play predictable, repetitive games such as peek-a-boo or “ready, set, go” and see their anticipation grow each opportunity.
  • Play on different textures to improve balance and sensory exploration.

Preschoolers:

  • Practice those turn taking skills that can be so tricky in the classroom. Model vocabulary surrounding moments that may be frustrating, to support those times in later day to day activities.
  • Play with balls to practice throwing or kicking. Then, watch their coordination improve.
  • Explore outside, even in the snow – there are many sensory experiences in the changing textures and temperatures.
  • Play pretend with blocks, cars, dolls, or kitchen items. It’s certainly okay to be silly!
  • Create an obstacle course with things around the house.

School Age:

  • Play simple card games to target visual and cognitive demands.
  • Play board games. Teach each other the rules or make up your own version.
  • Hide and go seek and tag are great ways to get active.
  • Ride bikes, go for a walk, or jump rope.
  • Build with LEGOs.

Great for All Ages:

  • Read with your child.
  • Look at a picture book and create your own story.
  • Do art projects and explore your creativity, while letting them get messy.
  • Have a dance party.
  • Let your child help in the day to day. For example, cook a meal together, bake some cookies, or allow them to help with the laundry.

Removing technology is impossible, so making sure you have even a small amount of quality time with your children every day will do wonders for them (and you). Screen time is an inescapable reality today, but there is strong research that too much screen time can have serious health consequences. Click here to learn more about screen time and setting limits, and check out Common Sense Media for age appropriate recommendations.