I spent my childhood playing on our street, from riding our bikes to water fights, football and rollerskating. We would spend hours outdoors come rain or shine, only to be ushered inside when it was a mealtime.
Nowadays it is not the same. Street Play seems to be dying for a number of reasons such as safety and using tablets and smart technology.
But rather than moan or groan and cite examples of “back in our day,” I wanted to use this National Play Day to take action and find some simple ideas of games to play.
Now it may seem obvious to some… but for people like me who get stuck in their own little world and forget the basics, it’s nice to have a reminder so that we have a few tricks up our sleeves when the kids say, “I’m boooored.”
One of the most useful things the health visitor did for my mental health was refer me to a nursery play worker who showed me how to play free games outdoors. We’d make up stories as we were going through the park.
Homestart Charity also helped me to get outdoors with the kids and play games.
Our favourite free family play ideas are:
– Creating an obstacle course in your home or garden.
– Playing party games… who needs to wait for a birthday to play musical chairs?
– Den building: Whether it be inside or outside. All you need is some sheets and cushions and whatever else the kids can find.
– Doing your own Youtube challenges: My children LOVE Youtube so they copy some of the challenges such as the three marker challenge.
I asked some fellow blogger and vloggers for more ideas…
– Care Johnson: “My personal favourite game to play – Tidy up time!
“Me and my son love flash cards, we love making our own flashcards too so we can play snap. It encourages him to draw shapes and do his letters.”
– Emma Harris:: “Our family favourite boardgame is Monopoly, though our 9 year old still cries if he doesn’t get to buy Mayfair/Park Lane.”
– Sinead Latham: “We are massive Bingo fans in our house, numbers and picture versions.
“I can already see my sons competitive side coming through.
“Although in terms of outdoor play we let him run free (sometimes on his own and often with others) and take the lead in our local green spaces.
“It’s vital for him to explore without us interfering.”
– Sophie Gillum-Webb: “Snap! It’s such an easy game for any age to play and my family get quite competitive!”
– Veronica Mitchell: “Our family loves playing board games like Upwords, Scrabble and Monopoly. The kids also enjoy Guesstures and Speak Out. Our past time is playing at home and enjoying each other’s company.”
– Han-Son Lee: “We love Lego (who doesn’t?), but there are some amazing developmental opportunities with them too.”
– Kate Mai-Lyn: “Musical statues is always fun! I have a toddler and a baby so they love to dance and it’s easy to understand for them and we all end up giggling. Fab free fun!”
– Raising Badgers:: “The only card game that doesn’t end in tears with my little ladies is Whot – it’s super simple and the games don’t go on forever!”
For more on National Play Day and for ideas, go to: https://www.playday.org.uk/playdays/everyday-adventures/