Our Week in Play: Easy Ways to Engage Children

Welcome to another week! Since making the effort to FOCUS on play in our house, I have felt so much lighter. Much of my mother guilt has disappeared and at any given time our home can be filled with all sorts of wonderful, happy play experiences. The best thing has been that none of the experiences thus far have been overly messy, hard to set up or difficult to adapt. Due to the positive way this simple shift has affected life for us I have decided to share a weekly play post with some of the things we’ve been doing.

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This week, the big winner has been James’ old Lego.

He set up his roads with some trees, people and vehicles at the start of the week. Having the whole thing set up and accessible on the end of our table, while a little annoying at meal times, has meant that there is pretty much someone there at any given time of the day. Every day the playscape has changed. James will sit at the table and build a house or set up a horse yard and the girls will either be there, building and discovering along with him or come out to discover more fun things to explore.

Both girls happily played alone, creating wonderful stories and using their imaginations and, mostly, when they played together it was amicable.

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I never really played with Lego when young, I feel like I was discouraged (not by my parents, but possibly other important adults in my life) because I was a girl and I really feel sad that I don’t have the skills that playing like this builds. Which makes me absolutely thrilled that Ellie and Kahlei are not only interested but actively seeking out this kind of play. They watch, they explore, they strengthen their motor skills and work their mind. There’s some problem solving and dexterity work, colour and pattern recognition and the all important quality time with Daddy. There’s so much to love about the fact that James got out a few old Lego boards, but the thing I love most is watching from a distance as he and the girls work and play and chat together. THAT makes my heart happy.

The next thing that has been a winner this week was Doctor play. Ellie has just recently decided to move on from her dream of being a Garbage Girl and is now adamant she is headed for life as a Doctor. So, this week, as I separated the mince for the next week’s meals I suddenly had a brilliant idea and soon had two doctors, a waiting room and some patients in my home.

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I simply gave them a set of gloves each, popped a button on a shoe lace which I then threaded through the top sides of  a paper towel roll and looped around their ears for a stethoscope, gave them some paddle pop sticks and a pencil and chop stick for needles and they were set. Of course, the patients needed seating and magazines in the waiting room and soon enough I was both secretary and worried mum for many of those going in to visit the doctors.

I loved watching this game as well as being a part of it.

Easy Ways to Engage Toddlers, Music for Toddlers, Play Ideas for Toddlers

Both of the above activities aren’t really appropriate for Jasper and the latter was played only while he was in bed. For him, he’s been into the sensory tub we created the week before and some blocks which he can’t swallow, but the winner was something I whipped up this morning.

Two plastic cups + uncooked pasta + masking tape = Pure Joy!

Dancing, singing and happy little people all around.

I’d love to hear your ideas for easy ways to engage children!

3 Comments

  1. I look forward to this being a regular feature Becky, the ideas you have presented here are so do-able. Sometime I get grand ideas for a new activity but I get discouraged when they take forever to set up and only a few minutes for my kids to demolish. Lego is so good, I love watching W. create little stories – he has some Harry Potter stuff as well as “city” stuff and the conversations he enacts between Harry and Voldemort are hilarious. But I do get a bi† stressed about him dropping stuff and then little miss toddler picking it up! Off to check out your sensory tub post!

  2. What a wonderful post Becky! It can really be hard spending the day with young children..and hard to get the energy and enthusiasm to play with them sometimes! Looks like you are doing a great job playing with the kids and you will reap the rewards later I’m certain. I hope you keep this series of posts going to help motivate others (like me!!) too!

  3. Great post! Sp glad you linked up. Making time to play is a great thing to me matter

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