As an advocate of outdoor play, post rain or shine, those who know me know that I get very frustrated when I'm stuck indoors. I need fresh air, I need to hear laughing in the distant. I just love unstructured and unplanned play.
However, there are those days where we just can't go outside. Sick days, rainy days, afterschool HW and extra curricular days .. there are many. (& as my kids get older I realise they get less time each year to do so)
Through playing, children learn about concepts such as wining, loosing and playing fair and also develop problem-solving skills. Indoor play gives children that opportunity to develop such skills.
Indoor play opens up a world of imaginative play and Social Play
Role playing, being superheroes, playing 'mummies and daddies', playing shop, dress-ups, tea-parties, playing with cars playing with dolls and soft toys to name a few. ... I used to love sitting all my soft toys around a table and play "schools"
The process of pretending builds skills in many essential developmental areas. When your child engages in pretend (or dramatic) play, S/he is actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life.
I have very energetic kids that love to move! Obviously when stuck at home that limits their movement. We recommend the following active tried and tested ideas :)
I always leave a Bilibo lying around .. We have had this same one for over 10 years. My kids gravitate to it and always end up burning quite a bit of energy with spins and balance. We can not recommend this enough.
- Lava - place cushions all over the floor and tell your kids that they cannot put a single toe on the floor as it is "lava". Their mission - They need to get to the other side of the room and pick up the prize (could be a book, or a toy, or a sweet) without touching the floor. it's not as easy as it sounds! but it is lots and lots of fun!!
Chose a large enough room and tape toilet paper across making a web. Their aim - to get to the other side without ripping the paper.
Cleaning up CAN be fun for them! My kids love playing this game and in the end - we have a cleared room, exhausted kids and a happy me! win / win! This is best if played with more then 1 child - or + you!
Each child gets to choose one song. Once their song is being played it is up to the that child to clean up their toys and more as fast as they can. They need to pick up and clear & put away at least 20 items / pieces before the song finishes. Whilst that song is playing, the other kids relax, sing and dance.
When the song is up - the next song comes on and it's the next childs turn to clean up.
This is always done with a promise that what ever is left to clean up will be done by me.
Clean up will never be a chore again!
For us, downtime are those days when we are tired & less motivated. This is the time where we move on to reading, puzzles, board games or we watch a movie or series. Now that Christmas is soon here we will soon start to watch all the classics again .. you can't really get enough of them! - our favourites are Muppets Scrooge, Jingle all the Way and the Grinch (original)
In other words, play matters, let the children PLAY!