Investing time and thought into planning wholesome activities for your child’s non-school hours and playtime can be the antidote to boredom that you’ve been looking for. It will help your child develop creativity and enable him to take advantage of the precious childhood years, and establish habits for a well-balanced lifestyle for him to enjoy in years to come. Even if you are only able to spend a limited amount of time with your children due to school, your job, etc., the key is focused attention and making your times together quality.
Play Idea Guide Excerpted from Kick the TV Habit, by Steven and Ruth Bennett
Play with Books
* Write (or tell) a sequel. Do you ever wonder what happens after the storybook ends? Well, have your family continue the plots of their favorite books, adding a variety of situations and characters.
* Draw a book report. Here’s a project the whole family can enjoy: Draw five pictures that summarize the plots of some favorite family books. Then have each family member present his or her “report,” and see if everyone else can name the book.
* Meet the characters. Your child may have given oral book reports before, but has he or she ever done so from the perspective of the author? Ask your child to pretend that he or she has penned a favorite book, and then express insights about the characters that only the author can offer.
* Five stars. Does your family have strong opinions about books? Schedule book review sessions, and use them to steer family members toward books that are not already household runaway successes.
* Act the part. Choose a favorite storybook with some great characters, and cast family members in the major roles. Then have your family read the book aloud—with each person portraying a leading character.
Your house is chock-full of new toys and games. All your family has to do is invent them. (Please note, however, that some of the following activities involve small items that may be swallowed by young children. Supervise carefully.)
* Game board. Make your own game board complete with colored spaces, obstacles, pitfalls, and playing cards. Have your child invent his or her own rules.
* Towel tube rocket. Have your kids glue “fins” and a nose cone on an empty paper towel tube, decorate it, and head for outer space!
* Counter’s list. Find things at home that “add up to” a numbered list. For example, you may have one refrigerator, two bathtubs, three chairs, and four smoke detectors. You may even have five family members!
* Invent a machine. Start with an empty box, and glue on plastic lids, bottle caps, buttons, metal washers, pipe cleaners, pictures, bits of string, cardboard arrows, and anything else your kids can imagine. This machine can do anything!
* Town layout. Roll out a large sheet of craft paper or newsprint, and create a town. Add small boxes for buildings and cars, and draw streets, sidewalks, playgrounds, and so on. Now you’re ready to move in!
* Bingo. Make simple bingo cards with letters across the top and numbers down the side. Take turns pulling slips from a large bowl and mark your spaces with buttons. Bingo!
* Homemade memory game. Glue similar pictures from magazines onto small paper or cardboard squares in matching pairs. Mix them up, lay them out facedown, and concentrate! Can you turn over a matching picture pair?
* Spaghetti pick-up sticks. Play pick-up sticks with uncooked spaghetti.
* Sorting race. Fill a bowl with a lot of small items: dry beans, pasta, nuts, etc. Run time trials to see who can sort them out in an empty ice-cube tray (or egg carton) more quickly than last time. As a variation, do the sorting blindfolded!
* Costume hunt. Hide dress-up items around the house, and have your kids find and put them on. Make the search more interesting by marking items with stick-on labels, so each child has his or her own set to locate.