Make everyday tasks fun.
Chores don’t have to be boring –think about how you can turn them into a game.
Mix it up.
The way you play with your child will be different from your partner or other family members –variety is great for your child’s development.
Match their mood.
Children don’t need to be stimulated every minute of the day – get active with them when they’re fresh and full of energy, and try quiet activities or songs when they are tired or grumpy.
Be involved but don't take over.
Try saying things like “'I wonder what would happen if…' or ‘You seem to be having a problem with … what can we do?'
Talk about what's happening.
When children hear words that match what they’re looking at or thinking about, it helps their language to develop.
Let them choose.
What to play and how.
No wrong way to play.
Problem solving skills are developed through inventing new ways to play with the same toys. Unless there is an obvious safety concern, try not to jump in or interfere.
Set clear consistent boundaries.
eg for noisy or ‘outside’ toys.
Try to be patient.
Repeating favourite activities can be boring for you, but it’s great for their brain.
You’ve been playing hide and seek for what feels like all morning… and now they’re begging you for just one more game.
While playing the same thing over and over again is probably driving you more than a little batty, it’s good to know that there’s a reason that your child keeps asking for more. It’s because their growing brain connections are stimulated by the repetition which, in turn, helps them to master new skills.
In fact, for children, playing is how they learn best. Whether it’s playing peek-a-boo with your baby, answering your toddler’s pretend phone or full-on imaginative play with your preschooler, it’s all helping pathways in their brains develop and grow stronger.
Tiny Adventures - because fun makes everything better.
These 'Tiny Adventures' are quick, fun, free family activities that take between one minute and one hour. Select a few based on how much time you have, then let your child choose - it only takes a minute to make a memory! (Thanks to Christchurch’s All Right campaign for letting us share Tiny Adventures with the rest of New Zealand)
You’ll need: A few balloons, a felt pen, a fly swat or paper plate, strong lungs and quick hands.
- Flying balloon: Blow up your balloons, then when they are nearly full let them go!
- Balloony doodles: Draw a picture on your balloon then blow it up and watch it change size.
- Bats and swats: Grab a fly swat (or make a balloon bat by taping a stick to a paper plate), then try hitting your balloon with it.
- Volley-balloon: Blow up your balloon then tap it to each other without letting it touch the floor. Can you keep two balloons in the air?
Blow up your balloon then tap it to each other without letting it touch the floor. Can you keep two balloons in the air?
You’ll need: A sock for each person, a pen, stickers, or buttons and glue (optional)
- Use your sock like a glove, putting your thumb in the heel and fingers in the toe.
- Music: Have your puppets sing a song!
- Story: Get your puppets to act out a story.
- Chat: Use your puppets to chat about your favourite things.
Extra: Give your puppet a name?
Draw, sew or glue on some eyes and hair
You’ll need: Some soft sand (or dirt) and large sticks
- Go to the beach! Find a flat patch of sand near the water.
- If you can, write your name or special messages.
- Use your sticks to draw pictures.
- Share what you like about each other’s then watch them wash away.
You’ll need: Music and your dancing shoes!
- Bop to the beat: See if you can tap, clap, high five, or march to the beat!
- Teach a new move: Copy each other’s spins, twists, turns and shakes then put your moves together!
- Play zoo guess who: Take turns dancing as your favourite animals
Kids not sharing toys or co-operating?
- tossing a coin for who goes first
- setting the oven timer/alarm clock for a set period – then swapping over
- practicing sharing through activities that require taking turns (like cards or board games)
- investing 15 minutes of your time at the start of an activity. If you establish guidelines about game rules, turn taking or time frames to start them off, it can help them play happily for longer.