While the whole world may be experiencing a collective anxious depression during this time, as parents we can set the mood in our households. We all need a little play therapy from time to time. So, turn off social media gather your family and have some fun!
Here are some ideas for family fun in the midst of social distancing:
- Indoor Playground– Line the hallway with couch cushions and pillows for a soft play gym. This is perfect for the toddler preschool years in a small apartment!
- Hall Ball- Each family member stands in a different doorway. You score a point when you kick the ball or balloon into an opponent’s room.
- “Lazy Man’s Pentathalon” – Choose and play five fun games (board games, yard games, racing toy cars, tossing things, etc…). The only rule, as you can tell by the name, is no sweating. Score the ranking of each game. End with a creative award ceremony where everyone is recognized for some achievement such as “silly laugh”, “most on target”, etc…
- Themed Dinners– All family members come to dinner dressed in character. Google themed party ideas for food and game suggestions. Our themes have included: upside down backwards meal; fiesta; baseball; Super Heroes; picnic in the living room; murder mystery dinner; and restaurant. Family bonding is extended as kids love to get involved in the planning and decorating.
- Projects– Working together with your kids is a fun way to spend time together and teach them to enjoy work. Think of projects you have been meaning to do around the house, such as painting furniture, organizing a closet, or planting flowers. Work with them and laugh and be silly. See if a friend or neighbor that is isolating would appreciate some help with yard work. Maybe you could cook a meal and drop it off for them.
- Enjoy nature– When it’s raining, cuddle up in a blanket on the porch and watch the rain dance on the leaves and pour off the roof like a waterfall. When you see a trail of ants squat down with your child and admire how they work. Pick flowers from the garden. Make a picture from sticks and leaves you find in the yard. Look at the clouds and discuss what you imagine.
- Read together– Start reading to your baby and keep reading into the teen years. It’s a great way to not only relax and bond together, but will help them perform better in school. Try reading a novel with older kids.
- Make a movie– Make plans with the kids. Have them come up with the general plot, lines, costumes, and set. Then record your movie one scene at time. Your kids will laugh when they see Dad’s acting skills! Ask your older kids to edit it together. You can stretch this family fun activity over weeks and in the end you have an incredible memory recorded forever!
- Collect “family fun” ideas– Keep a jar with pieces of paper nearby. As family members come up with ideas for a fun family activity write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then when it’s time for family fun, pull out a piece of paper and do what it says.
- Be intentional- If you’re not careful you’ll realize that the day has gone by and you haven’t taken time to enjoy your kids that day. Make a plan. Schedule family play time and guard it.
We all need this play therapy for our mental health!