Everything to know about play and activities with kids
As a Dad, taking time to play with kids is one of the most important things you can do. A strong father and child bond is formed, building a lasting relationship. If you’re stuck for ideas on where to start, we’ve partnered with fatherhood NGO Dad Central to help Dads feel confident and prepared when playtime comes around. Keep reading for tips on activities to do with kids at home.
Your kid will benefit
As a child, there’s not a lot better than playtime with Dad – and kids develop from it too. Play allows them to explore their abilities in coordination, balance, and strength. Younger minds can learn new skills like paying attention, planning, and using tools; as they understand their environment. Play subtly teaches kids how to get along with other people. And Dad and kids’ playtime touches on important life lessons too, like the emotional reality of both success and frustration (you’ll let them win every now and then… right?)
Try out different roles
Playing with them like a sibling might sacrifice some of that precious father and child dynamic, and always playing the scary adult isn’t fun either. Flip between different roles to change it up for both father and child. Being an observer allows you to watch or cheer your kid on, without being directly involved in what they’re doing. An entertainer can read a story in a silly voice or put on a puppet show. Teachers can lead where the play goes and give instructions (without taking over), and a playmate can join in on the fun. Warning: may require your living room to turn into a jungle gym, or you to turn into a tea party guest
Explore new activities
The word ‘play’ might sound tiring alone, but activities to do with kids don’t always have to involve hanging from the ceiling. Of course, you’ve got physical play – your standard running, jumping, climbing, and wrestling. But try hands-on play to encourage exploring and experimenting with real, everyday objects. Arts and crafts gives space for drawing, colouring, pasting, painting, playing with playdough or clay. Music can be used for singing or dancing, and nature play could look like digging in the dirt, collecting leaves and rocks, or hiking in the woods. And social play? Get stuck into whatever wild make-believe, pretend world they come up with
Organized fun is still fun
You can set boundaries to your family activities and tailor play to your child's age and ability. Giving some structure to play doesn't stop it being fun and there's always still room to improvise and be spontaneous. Think about where you’re playing, what toys they’re playing with, and who else can join in. Give them time to play on their own and jump in too. A father playing with children can sit back and follow their lead: your kid’s actions, words and expressions are good guides. Give them a shout-out if you’re a fan of their ‘work’, and you'll be amazed to see how they continue to learn and grow!
Ideas to get you started
We’ve got some fail safe ideas to inspire you. Use cardboard boxes, markers and pillows to build a spaceship and fly to the moon. Learn a new dance: your TikTok fame awaits. Try making slime or science experiments in the kitchen using everyday items. Make a fort – everyone loves to escape to a new world for a few hours! Follow the lead on what your child wants to do – they are the best source for ideas of what they find fun!