Family Activities Families Outdoor Adventures

Inspiring Playful Parenting

Focusing on great outcomes for children

Look for every opportunity each day to make
the mundane activities into playful connection
time with your child.

Use the links below for Ad-Free Downloadable Pages
Tons of Fun-Finding Your Joy with a Newborn Section 1
Family Activities Playful Parenting Outdoor Fun
Playful Parenting means joining children in their world of play, focusing on connection and confidence, giggling and roughhousing, and following your child's lead.

Lawrence Cohen, PhD

How to Practice Playful Parenting

August 22, 2020 by Akers Academy
Research tells us that parents who engage in “playful parenting” have an easier time with their children than those who don’t. The same study also found that children who play with their parents have a significantly healthier and stronger bond with their parents and other children compared to those who don’t. Being a parent comes with many responsibilities, and playful parenting should be one of them.
For most children, play comes naturally. Yet, for us as adults, it may be the last thing on our minds after a busy day, stress, and never-ending chores. We end up delaying playtime until the weekends after we have had enough rest. Playing is a critical part of child development. The more they play, the more they explore, develop good habits, and interact well with their peers.
So how do you practice playful parenting and build a strong relationship with your child? Here are a few tips to help you out.
Put it in your schedule
Good parenting means creating time to spend with your child. No matter how busy your schedule may be, it is imperative that you carve out time to spend with your child. If you’re worried that you might forget or get distracted, set aside some time for playing with your child. You can even inform children about their special time set aside with you; they are likely to remind you and look forward to it. That way, you won’t have to worry about missing these essential “sessions”. To make things even better, you can allow your child to make a list of the games he or she would like to play with you. Soon enough, your child’s joy for playing with you will make you look forward to joining them.

Start your day with some play
We have a morning routine that we stick to, but have you ever thought how your day would go if you started off by engaging in some playtime with your child? Many young children are early risers. So you probably don’t need to worry about the need to wake your child up to play. Some quick pillow games or running across the room can be a great way to start your day. If it’s summer, you can take your games outside to the garden and play in the grass before heading inside to bathe and get ready for work. This strategy works best especially if your child tends to have trouble detaching or becomes clingy or cries when you have to leave for work.

Let yourself look and sound silly
Part of playful parenting involves being creative, so don’t be a boring playmate! Don’t be afraid to act silly and, for once, act like a child. For example, you might play games that involve you being the baby and your child being the parent. You can even make childish noises and act goofy, which will no doubt be very entertaining for your little one. Remember, playful parenting shouldn’t involve you ordering your child around. Allow your kid to be the boss and follow their commands. Let loose and act the way your child wants you to act, and even talk like them. Make silly faces and funny movements. If you haven’t done this kind of thing in a while, it may not come naturally, but with time you will perfect your craft. This kind of play fully engages your child in the game, and they will have more fun laughing with you.

Make boring jobs fun
Work is not always fun, and sometimes we have really bad days. Your child also has bad days, and he or she may not enjoy clearing and putting away their toys after play. Try combining things. Instead of sulking on a day gone bad, why don’t you use that time to engage positively with your little one? You can play together and help them put away the toys. If you assign tasks, try to make them as enjoyable as possible. You can achieve this by helping out, creating a game, or offering a reward for a job well done. You can also crack jokes to make your child laugh. You will be surprised at how cooperative they become after that laughter. This can create some great bonding time.

Be dramatic
Lastly, you can use puppets to engage your child. Try using different kinds of toys to experiment with this. You can get all dramatic and develop different characters that will leave your child collapsing into laughter. If you are the father, try wearing a wig and put on some silly makeup. If you can imitate their favorite cartoon characters, that’s even better!
As you can see, carving out time for playful parenting is not that difficult. In fact, you’ll even end up having a great time with your kid. Always look for those opportunities that can create a lively connection between you and your little one. Whatever the situation, you can eliminate boredom by following these tips.
We are all about loving and caring for your child.

Use the links below for ad-free downloadable pages
Check out More Playful Parent Information from the Lego Foundation.

Playful Parenting

Parents are children’s first playmate and have the opportunity to give them a head start on learning through play that will last beyond the early years.

Play between a parent and child between birth to three years of age can be, quite literally, life changing for both parties. A long-lasting bond between parent and child can be established through playful interactions, laying the foundation for a positive and healthy relationship that can grow throughout childhood. Furthermore, the potential for children to learn fundamental skills through parent-child play in the early years is vast.

The first three years of a child’s life are a particularly important time for learning and development. The brain develops rapidly in this period of a child’s life, producing more than a million neural connections each second. The experiences and relationships that a child has in this period, along with health and nutrition, have a huge impact on neural development. Given this critical period of development, coupled with young children’s propensity for play between birth and three years of age, the potential for learning through play at this age is huge and exciting. READ MORE 
(Link to Lego Foundation)

‘Many children seem to be born with a natural ability to play, but some children find it more difficult and need to ‘learn’ how to play well and this is where parents can make a big difference'.

While it is very important that children play with their peers and are given opportunities for unstructured play, children who also play with a loved adult can benefit greatly – the benefits of having fun together cannot be underestimated!

Providing children with a range of playthings will help them learn in a number of ways:

Sand and water play can be an early introduction to science and math, eg learning that water is fluid, not solid, and that it can be measured in different sized containers.

Playing with dough or clay, drawing and painting pictures, dressing up, playing with dolls can encourage creativity, imagination and expression of feelings.

Building blocks, jigsaws and shape sorters can help with recognizing different shapes and sizes, putting things in order and developing logic.

Playing ball games, dancing, running, climbing all help to develop body movement, strength, flexibility and co-ordination skills.

Games help with turn taking, sharing and mixing with others.

Singing, playing simple music instruments help to develop rhythm, listening and hearing.

It's important that learning is fun at this age. It needs to be about doing things with them that they like. They might find unusual ways of doing things - for a little one, building blocks aren't just for making towers, and paint can be used without a brush!

Try A Outdoor Adventure

Make it a point to create some fun memories and with these activities for bonding with your family. Good for kids of all ages- from toddlers to teens!

Show them how things work, but if they want to experiment, let them.

Fly a Kite

Play at a Sprinkler Park-

Go Camping

Build a Fort

Forts are fun no matter how old you are. Build a tree house or a club house. Build a air fort with sheets and a box fan. Get creative and build you and your kids a fort- then let them sleep in it. Or watch a movie in it. Or eat dinner in it.

Play in a Creek or Pond

Make Matching Tie Dye Shirts

Learn how to decorate Red White and Blue Patriotic T-shirts with the kids.

Take a Hike

My kids have been hiking since they were in the sling as infants. There are hikes of all difficulties, so you can find a simple nature trail for small kids or a steep incline for teens.

Explore your area. Search out waterfalls. Watch towers. And other amazing views from your area.

Roast Marshmallows and Make S’Mores

Watch a Meteor Shower

Make Homemade Ice Cream

Ice Cream is the perfect summer treat. But homemade is even more fun. We have 3 ice cream makers:

A Ballwhich is so much fun to roll around together

An electric churner

A soft serve machine

They are all well used and loved each summer. Here’s the best soft serve recipe to make at home.

Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt

Here’s more information on how to do a Nature Scavenger Hunt for the whole family.

Why Play Matters

Family Outdoor Adventures 

Growing Up Outdoors

For kids, the natural world can be a place of peace, health and inspiration—and can launch a lifetime passion for conservation.

Wonder, delight, whimsy and discovery animate the faces of children exploring nature, whether by building a fairy house or rescuing a turtle from the road. Even inspecting a few wildflowers can yield squeals of joy because it's their first time of seeing them. Be ready for the ooo's and ahh's

How to spend more time outside with your kids when you're not outdoorsy

Why Connect Kids and Nature?

Connecting children and nature has important health benefits. Studies show outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. In addition, children who spend time in nature regularly are shown to become better stewards of the environment.

As with other behaviors we wish to instill in our children, connecting the environment and kids works best when we start small, lead by example, use hands-on activities and make it fun. I know that I consciously included enjoying being outside from the day we bought Hope home.

Mayflowers are in bloom

Hope was born in the middle of summer. So we spent a lot of time outside after she was born, even if it was only napping or taking a walk or hike with her. I simply put her in a carrier and off we went walking down the dirt road that we lived on. Looking at the new wildflowers or animals that came out to see us.

The trails at Mt. Falcon became her favorite walk and they were a only block or two away.

Mt. Falcon – Jefferson County Open Space Hiked 7/28/12 | hiking to healthy

Along the way, we often encountered all sorts of wild things that made her eyes widen and her heart race. The first thing that Hope pointed out to on our walks was a cluster of flowers in our neighbor's flower bed. I was delighted to take her closer in for a better investigation.

Mother and daughter walking outdoor family vacations mom and baby child  playing in flowers meadow happiness emotions summer season rural  countryside nature

We all remember the first our baby used "give me hands", Hope flashed hers to take the flower home. I debated the old rule of leaving all nature in its place. But I wanted to reward her interest, and tears welled up in my eyes. Wildflowers were somewhat of a passion for me. Being raised in the Finger Lakes means there was a great deal of flowers, ferns, moss and fabulous fauna in our woodlands and along our roads. From the first peek of the may flowers under a certain tree in our back yard, to the snow covering all the fauna in in the fall, I loved watching the wildflowers grow in the woods behind the house.

So I was so excited that my daughters first intrigue was with a wildflower. It meant we would be able to share a love of wildflowers. That’s why my eyes filled with tears.

It was a great way to start a lifetime of intrigue with the wildlife.

BTW -Today Hope is celebrating the first snowfall of the year in Wyoming, dancing her happy dance as the seasons change.

May be an image of outdoors and tree

Getting outdoors benefits everyone in ways both ways that are obvious and surprising. Hopefully these ideas will help families get outside more – please share with any friends who might need a nudge into the wild.

How to hold yourself accountable for spending more time outside
Children learn to enjoy the world through all their senses through taste, touch, vision, hearing and smelling. They will watch those around them and copy language and behavior.

What will you pass on to them?
Next Exploring The Great Outdoors
Family fun Playful Parenting Outdoor activities

Family Activities

This website is dedicated to the kids in our lives who love to splash and tromp in puddles, seem to be always tracking down winged and creepy creatures and will swing on anything that hangs...and to the child within all of us that allows us to join them often in splashing and chasing and swinging. Margorie Frank

Name E-mail Message Submit