Thursday, October 6, 2011

Making Time for Play

As previously announced I have been working with Mom Central and Kinder to celebrate the ways families make time for FUN every day. With kids back in school and routines in full swing a lot of families struggle to find that balance and make time for moments to celebrate the joy of simply being a kid. Have you made time to play today??

Let's face it Moms - sometimes it can be tricky to be the kind of parent that we imagine ourselves as inside of our own heads. At times it seems downright impossible to live up to our own expectations. Being a work at home Mom I know all about juggling meetings, deadlines, school pick-ups/drop-offs, housework, preparing meals and running errands. Sometimes amongst it all finding that special time to simply play with our little ones can seem overwhelming. One important thing I have taught myself to remember is that my kids don't have the same expectations as I have self-created. Finding time to play can be as simple as busting out some bath paints during tub time or making a quick detour to a local park on the way home from school. When you make the most of the little moments you have in a day you can suddenly carve out all kinds of special time with your little ones that they are sure to remember. Here are 5 of our favorite ways to create play with our family during even the busiest moments in our day to day lives.

1. Stock a drawer, container or cupboard with kid friendly crafty supplies. When I have to attend to a load of dishes, prep a meal or check my email messages I always bust something out of those drawers to keep my little ones busy. While I am being productive my mini Picasso's are creating something beautiful to add to our refrigerator display. We fill our drawer with paper, coloring books, water color paints, stickers, safety scissors, glue sticks, pom poms, stamps, markers, crayons and pastels. I also try to keep the drawer stocked with fun seasonal printables found on such online sites as Crayola, Enchanted Learning and Busy Bee Kids Printables.

2. Have fun together in the kitchen!! Have your kiddos help out to whip up a new recipe together or help to prepare dinner. Toddlers can tear lettuce for a salad, stir batter or simply have a great time playing with an assortment of measuring cups, spoons and bowls. We fill the bottom drawer in our kitchen with kid friendly kitchen tools so even the littlest members of the family can get involved in making a mess and having fun. Try making a batch of our Aggression Cookies for hands on fun.

3. Play outside!! Even a trip to the mailbox can be made into an adventure. Try collecting items from nature to make a pretty seasonal craft collage. Go on a sound safari listening out for sounds found in your local neighborhood. Examine bugs, leaves and flowers with a magnifying glass. If you have a spare few minutes make a detour to your local park - play a game of tag, see who can swing highest on the swings, roll down a grassy hill.

3. Take play time to the tub. Whip up a batch of our homemade Bath Paints, create some Iceburgs or some Sponge Boats. Splash, blow handfuls of bubbles, play song games.

4. Build a fort. Whether it's out of couch cushions, chairs and a favorite blanket or a cardboard box, building a secret hideaway is a guaranteed quick way to squeeze a bit of imaginative play into a busy day. Cuddle up inside and read a book or watch a favorite tv show. Slay imaginary dragons or take a trip into outer space. Use your imagination and don't forget to giggle!!

5. Have a tea break. Sometimes Mommy just needs to put her feet up with a hot coffee or tea and take a breather for a moment or two. Turn this little break into something fun for the kids by setting up a tea party in the middle of your living room floor. Have kiddos spread out a blanket and collect all of their favorite stuffed animals to join in while you brew yourself a cup of something special. If your drinking caffeine free tea let your little ones join in and have a teacup with an icecube stashed inside for their own brew. Teddies can be served pretend tea while you sip your own and nibbles can be shared for everyone to enjoy.

There are so many ways you can make time for fun with your family if you think outside the box and imagine how you can make the most out of every moment. Think like a kid - every moment can be a chance for something fun!! All you need is a little imagination.

If you haven't done so already check out the Kinder Canada facebook community to share your favorite ways to play and to enter a contest for the chance to win a $200 gift basket!!

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