Playful Parenting: Bringing Play to Every Day

Playful Parenting: Bringing Play to Every Day

Playful Mindset Turns Chore Time into Play Time

There’s no way around it: There are always chores to do and errands to run.

Those responsibilities don’t have to be a drag on an otherwise lovely day. What if, instead, they became a way to engage with kids and have some playful time together?

Here are a few ideas to help turn the dreaded chore time into playtime.

Turn Chores into Playful Practice

Play is something kids (and adults) do because they want to. What if we spun our perception of chores around and started treating them more like play — rather than focusing on the tasks we must do, think of ways to turn each into a fun game or challenge. For example:

  • Sweeping – Giving kids a small broom and dustpan provides an opportunity for imaginative role playing. Maybe they are a shop owner cleaning up after a long day at work. Or maybe a giant dust storm just rolled through their home on Mars and they need to sweep it out.
  • Washing – A bucket of soapy water and a sponge becomes a car wash for play cards or a spa for action figures that need some cleaning.
  • Laundry – Let kids sort clean laundry into piles based on color, owner or even size. A pile of freshly washed socks is a great opportunity for kids to play a matching game. And once the laundry is all folded, make a game out of who can put their clothes away the quickest, slowest, quietest, etc.

Turn Errands into Playful Learning Opportunities

Running errands isn’t always the most fun thing, especially for a kid who would rather be running around, jumping and playing. But with some new strategies, those pesky errands become a great opportunity to learn, imagine and connect.

  • Alphabet games – Most stores are filled with countless signs and labels. Ask kids to find each letter of the alphabet, in order, while walking up and down the aisles. For beginning readers, practice reading words that start with every letter of the alphabet.
  • Math games – Practice addition and subtraction by figuring out the total of or difference between two items in your cart. Or, give kids a targeted amount and ask them to find two or three things that add up to that number.
  • Scavenger hunt – If errands take you something where kids need to sit still, like a laundromat or sibling’s sports practice, write out a list of items for kids to find and check off on a notebook.
  • Get moving – Sometimes kids just need to move around and get those wiggles out. See how long they can march in a straight line or find out who can do the silliest walk into the store. Challenge them to hop on one foot or pretend to dribble a basketball while waiting in the checkout line.
  • Color matching – Find something in your wallet or purse that is a bright color and have kids point out objects around them that are the same color. Or, for something more involved, play a game of “I Spy” where kids have to guess the item you think of based on its color.

There are many ways to make household chore and errands a more enjoyable part of your day. And as you shift your own mindset, you may find that your kids’ attitudes about these tasks will begin to reflect yours.



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