With the various responsibilities of parents and guardians at hand, thinking of activities from one day to another might be a challenge.
Not only must activities be engaging, but they must also be appropriate, especially for children.
This article gives some suggestions regarding activities that can be done at home with the family.
Activities must consider optimal learning and various types of approaches, whether child-directed, adult-directed, or adult-guided.
After all, especially for those with children, activities must not be meaningless and must provide a wide range of experiences that help the children’s growth and learning.
There are various opportunities that can be culled from activities at home.
For more ideas, visit PlayEatGrow.com. Detailed below are only a few suggestions – feel free to tweak them as you deem fit for your context!
Home Activities for the Family: Adults and Children
1. Allow free play activities
Parents tend to forget free play as one of the main options for family activities.
Free play is a great way for the family to learn together, and what’s good is that children get to initiate and direct what’s going to happen, who does something, and what the important decisions are.
When engaged in free play, children learn the values of cooperation and negotiation while simultaneously learning physical skills – how to dodge, how to jump, and how to run.
Independence and self-confidence are instilled in them, too, while the adults can help by organizing time, space, and participating.
2. Engage in inquiry play activities.
Another good activity for the family is the inquiry approach.
This is when adults and the younger ones try to piece new information together; a good example of this activity is gardening.
Gardening is an example of inquiry play because not only do the younger ones learn new ideas, concepts, and objects, but they also get to ask questions in the process.
For example, families that garden together can talk about the importance of worms for growing plants and other prior knowledge that could have possibly been learned at school.
Through inquiry play activities, the family gets to have fun while also helping children learn essential skills such as using resources, problem-solving, and planning.
They also get to learn new words and discover how things operate.
3. Use learning games for activities.
Not all activities need to be purely adult-directed or child-directed; they can make use of pre-made instructions, too.
Such is the case regarding learning games, which already come in structured materials and specific directions, like puzzles.
These are great activities because they can cater to all ages.
Adults and children get to interact more, which is great for children’s social-emotional learning – they can learn how to observe, take turns, and even seek help.
4. Plan out purposeful play activities.
Another way to approach activities for the family is through purposeful play.
When planned out properly, these activities help everyone have a good time, do some physical tasks, and even engage in some expressive and fantasy play.
For example, pretend play is an activity that everyone can participate in.
Children can mimic activities from their day-to-day lives, while adults can chime in with their experiences, too.
A good guide for parents and guardians to consider is to ask questions regarding the younger ones’ interests and developmental levels.
Ideally, the activity must touch upon something that a child already knows and is also related to their fields of interest – and one that can bring about new ways to learn.
5. Employ ‘old school’ activities.
Finally, another suggestion we can give is not to rely solely on technology.
There are many ways for a family to have fun without the need for a computer or television.
The key is substitution – perhaps, instead of an hour of TV, why not play a game of tag?
It is also a great way to be engaged in physical activity.
‘Old school’ games like four-square courts and hopscotch are also engaging, inexpensive, and exciting ways for activities; you can even allow children to create their own activity space for games like these.
Another similar activity is a scavenger hunt.
Mason jars and small nets can be used to catch insects or collect flowers – provided that these are allowed in the local neighborhood.
At the end of the day, a family’s activities at home still vary from culture to culture, from one context to the next.
However, a good guide that all families can consider is to plan out fun family activities that involve one or many of the following: Physical health and motor development, cognitive development, language development, literacy, and emotional and social development.
Remember, activities need not be expensive for them to be engaging.
As long as the activities encourage creativity and curiosity both in adults and children, they become potent vehicles for building relationships and skills.
Good luck and have fun!