The Importance of Playing Games with your Child

Many parents believe that they don’t have enough time to play with their children, or that there isn’t a need for them to do so. Games are a major part of every child’s development, and a parental influence in this is very important.
Below are 5 reasons that make playing games with your child beneficial, for both parties involved.
1. Strengthens the bond between parent and child.
When a baby is born, they are not aware that they are separate from their parents, as we take care of their every need. This forms a very important nurturing bond. As a child grows older they become more independent and develop their own ideas and personalities. As a result, maintaining this relationship becomes more challenging.
When the parent plays games with the child it helps to build a stronger bond, by creating an environment for the parent to interact with the child in a way that they both enjoy. This brings them closer and helps develop a lasting relationship.
2. The parent is able to teach the child through games.
Playing games is the way that children learn about the world they are in. They are introduced to different aspects of themselves, their environment and other people. It is also more likely that they will remember what they learn while doing activities they love.
This makes play-time an ideal opportunity to teach a child moral values and social skills. Games based on reasoning encourage the child to develop problem-solving abilities and patience. These are all skills that will last a lifetime.
3. Enables the child to feel more secure.
It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that children have a strong sense of security and safety. Playing games with them shows them they are loved and supported. This interaction also fulfils the child’s natural desire for their parents’ attention.
4. Parents become more aware of their child’s individuality.
Our children live in a world that we have created for them, and even though parental guidance is necessary, it is good to be able to see things from their point of view.
Whenever we play with our children, we can enter their world. Playing open minded games in which they set the rules, allows us to experience more of who they really are. In addition, our interest builds their confidence and teaches them to themselves more.
5. Helps increase communication.
It can be difficult for a child to express themselves verbally. Games that encourage self-expression will help them to get their point across. It is also a good way to for a child to show how they feel, when they are unable to explain it.

 

Here are few great board games that you can play with your children:

Mouse Trap Board Game

 

Solar Quest Space Board Game

Playing games with a child is more important than ever in modern society. Keep them short and sweet, and let your child know how much you love playing with them. One important thing to remember is that it is not the amount of time spent on the games, but the quality of the time and what both the parent and child will take away from the interaction.

Household Games for Bored Children

Is your child bored? Maybe the forecast calls for thunderstorms and they can’t get out to play. The hot temperatures of summer may also leave your children with a hum-drum type of day. But let’s spice things up. Get your child off the couch and away from the television. Put away their video game and look no further than simple items in your house to have some fun.

The first way to have fun is to play laundry basket skee ball. For this game you’ll need at least three laundry baskets and a make-shift ramp to roll the balls back to you. One laundry basket holds all the balls you’ll be tossing. The other two laundry baskets are assigned point values. For instance, laundry basket one may be 50 points and laundry basket two may be a hundred points. If you have older children, include a third laundry basket for 150 points. Decide how many points it takes to win and what the prize is for the winner. Maybe the winner gets out of mowing the lawn for a week or they get to pass off a chore to a sibling. Make it fun so they will want to play.

Balloon tennis is another fun game to play indoors. You only need three items for this game: balloons, paper plates and popsicle sticks. Attach the popsicle sticks to the paper plates either by glue or tape. After you have blown up the balloons, it’s time for the game to begin. If you have enough people, play this game in teams. Try to get have at least two people per teams, such as parents against kids. Assign points and penalty points to make the game fairer. It may be 1 penalty point if the balloon hits the floor, for instance, and 2 penalty points if it hits a piece of furniture. Don’t forget to decide on a total number of points you want to play to before the game ends. This is a great way to get your children up and moving around if they have had a day without much exercise.

If your child is around the pre-k age, you may consider creating a sensory bin. Children this age are starting to explore the world around them. Use sand, rice or even corn kernels to fill a small container. Then fill it with items that fit into a specific theme. The theme may be animals or items that a child would find on a farm. As the child pulls each item out, name that item. For instance, if your child pulls out a toy dog from the sensory bin, say “Dog. Can you say dog, too?” This reinforces the fact that learning is positive and they will want to do it when they see your approval.

Paper plate tic tac toe is also a fun way to keep little ones occupied. This game is simple and requires few supplies. All you have to do is make a tic tac toe board on the floor, either with masking tape or whatever you have on hand. Then take ten paper plates from the cupboard. On five of them, write O’s. On the remaining five, write X’s. It might be beneficial to write each set in a different color. That way they stand out while your children are playing the game. This is all that your children need to have hours of fun. You’ll be able to get your stuff done without them being under your feet, which is always a nice opportunity.

Finally, create an indoor hopscotch. This is easily created by putting painter’s tape on the floor. Use colorful cardboard stock or construction paper to make each number pop out for your child. Then, let your child get on with their playful spirit. Make it appear as a normal hopscotch would. This means box one is by itself, while box two and three are side-by-side. It continues this pattern until you get to ten or however large you want the hopscotch. Your child will be getting exercise and that’ll be the positive of the day.

So don’t let rain and miserable weather bum you out. You can have fun inside without putting too much money into it. Your children will be happy and so will you because they are not tracking in muddy shoes!

Family Games to Play While on a Road Trip

It wasn’t long ago when we attempted our first couple of long road trips with our kids. I had everything packed and organized, but failed to take into consideration that our kids needed more mental stimulation than just pleasant conversation, and watching the corn fields and wheat fields go by.

After glancing into the back seat to find some very bored kids, I decided that when we returned home, I would put some real effort into researching and testing travel games to make sure we had a much better drive experience on our future trips. It was an educational experience to say the least.

road-trip-with-kids

I discovered that by simply providing a variety of different games, toys, coloring projects, audio books on CD, and (as a last resort) DVD’s of new movies the kids hadn’t seen, we were off and running in the right direction for an entertaining and educational travel experience. As the saying goes, “It’s not reaching the final destination that is important, but the journey getting there.”

I immediately learned that some travel games weren’t worth the time and effort, being too complicated, too many pieces, or just not able to hold the kids attention. While other games were total hits, and many of them were extremely affordable. So we rounded up our travel game treasure trove and off we went our long road trip to test out these new products and see if we were able to have more entertainment, and less boredom with our kids.

Hour 1: Right off the bat, we discovered that magnetic games were a big hit, and kept the kids entertained for easily an hour at times. The games by Smethport Specialty Co. like Wooly Willy, which has been around for over 50 years and there is a reason why, were not only affordable games, but compact, and provided simple fun for our kids.

Hour 2: Then we would switch out to coloring. Crayola has some great travel coloring kits with fun pages, magic pens, and popular characters that always seem to be a hit with our kids, thus buying us another hour of fun on the road.

Hour 3: After cleaning up the pens and paper, we pull out the car bingo games and everyone joins in on the fun – giving us an easy 30 to an hour more travel time.

Hour 4: We then have snacks, or lunch depending on the time of day.

Hour 5: After an hour of meal time, the kids can play with some toys they brought along such as finger puppets, dolls, dinosaurs, or other small travel toys that they can use their imagination to play with. This is more of a quiet time and lasts for another hour easily.

Hour 6: Then we pop in an audio book on CD of American Tall Tales, or Fairy Tales, or King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, etc. The tapes are about 30 minutes long, and the kids usually enjoy listening to a couple CD’s back to back – giving us another hour.

Hour 7 & 8: So we are at approximately 6 hours of driving time. If we have more road to travel, there is always the best for last option of popping in the DVD for a good 2 hour movie, which will give you what you need for an eight hour drive with the kids.

We have traveled for 12 hours on one road trip before, but took a lot of 15 minute rest stop breaks to stretch our legs, throw a Frisbee with the kids, use the potty, or eat some food. It’s not easy, and we try to avoid being on the road that long. Sometimes though when the destination is far away, and you only have so much vacation time, there aren’t a lot of options. So let’s say you still have 4 hours to go of driving time.

Hour 9: That’s when you pull out a new travel game, one that you have been stashing away and that nobody knows about – travel game that everyone can join in on and play together. We discovered a handful of really fun travel games that fit this description including Family Time Fun games which are so easy to play, and great for car trips, or even while you are waiting for food to be served at a restaurant with your kids. This bought another hour of entertainment.

Hour 10: Three hours to go while traveling down the road, so I pull out some new snacks and meals and we eat and talk while listening to a music CD. There goes another hour. Now we are down to two hours left.

Hour 11 & 12: Ok, I don’t usually do this, but 2 hours is the perfect window for one more movie. I don’t like to abuse the DVD player, but when traveling on a really long road trip, and even on a long flight in an airplane, two movies are shown. So we pull out the 2nd and last movie of the day and the kids quietly watch the movie as we pull up to our hotel.

I hope this information will help other parents to travel easier with their kids. Sometimes the journey is long, but it does not have to be miserable. With the right items and a little pre-planning, parents can take control of long road trip boredom, and turn even the longest drive into an entertaining, and educational experience with the kids.