Friday, March 30, 2012

Reasons to play

  • Play is a powerful way to build and maintain a deep emotional bond between parent and child

  • Play strengthens family unity, and helps to create a positive and safe home environment.
  • Play can ease the stress of parenting, and make it more fun.
  • Play reduces destructive behavior in children, and also reduces TV and video-game addiction.
  • Play allows parents to enter their child's world, and to better understand what's on a child's mind.

Did you Know....

Play promotes social skills

As toddlers, children play side by side without obvious communication (this is called parallel play). During the preschool years, they start to interact with each other by creating complex story lines together. As they do this, they learn to negotiate, cooperate, and share (though some kids don't master the art of sharing until they're 4 to 6 years old). When children disagree about who gets to be the daddy or who will wear the purple dress, they're actually developing important social skills, says Sara Wilford, director of the Early Childhood Program at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

Just Chillin'

by Amy Brown, Photograph by Joe Polillio From FamilyFun Magazine
Just Chillin' - Image Collection
This observational game may get a surprisingly warm welcome from the younger set.
  1. To Play: Nominate someone to be Mr. Freeze. At various points during the meal, that person freezes like a statue. The other players' objective is to notice when this happens and freeze, too. The last person to freeze must perform a forfeit.

Fun Indoor Activites for the Whole family

An Upside Down Evening

Photograph by Ronnie Andren From FamilyFun Magazine

An Upside-down Evening - Image Collection 
Turn an ordinary night on its head with topsy-turvy ideas for dress-up, dining, and more!

Funny Photo Shoot

For family pics with a twist, don dressup clothes upside down: try putting legs into sleeves or wearing hats brim-side up. Safety pins come in handy for securing your cockeyed outfits in place. Snap photos for posterity. Standing on your head and making silly faces should be encouraged! 
 Dine Down Under
Spread a tablecloth on the floor (and a clean rug atop the table) and invite adventurous diners to get a whole new perspective on mealtime. Be sure to hang a sign. Have small stickers or lapel pins on hand; they can be worn upside down as a badge of honor by any diner who bumps her head.

Try Cupcake Turnovers
Some treats taste terrific no matter which way is up! Bake a batch of your favorite cupcakes. Have everyone pour sprinkles onto 3-inch squares of waxed paper, spread circles of frosting on each square, and plop overturned cupcakes onto the frosting.

Flip Your Food (and Drinks!)
A deliciously disorienting meal can be whipped up with minimum fuss. Simply turn frozen potpies, prepared according to the package's directions, out onto a plate and discard their foil tins. Top (or bottom?) them with a parsley garnish, if you like. Serve the upended pies with an inverted beverage, made by cutting a triangular hole in the bottle's bottom with a small knife (an adult's job), then inserting a drinking straw.

Play in Reverse
For after-dinner entertainment, play a board game beginning from the finish line and working back to the start. Chutes and Ladders is a great choice for this activity; zooming backward up the slides is twice as much fun as scooting down!