When at home with small children on a rainy or cold day or while they are recovering from an illness, we often rely on the TV to keep them occupied.
However, as parents, we need to remember that “skinship” is very important to your child’s development.
Even if it is only a short amount of time, please take the time to play with your child one-on-one.
Play that includes the sense of touch and verbal communication will have a positive effect on your child’s growth and development.
That being said, we understand that many Moms have a limited amount of time and energy to spend on their children.
In this article, we will introduce simple play activities that can be performed in a short period of time between housework and other work duties.
■ [The Horse Ride] — A thrilling but not difficult activity
This activity can be done with very small children and children that are recovering from an illness.
Papa or Mama should sit against the wall and stretch out their legs.
Next, place your child facing you on your lower legs.
In this activity, Papa or Mama becomes the riding toy of your child’s choice.
Please feel free to change from “horse” to “car or bus” as your child requests.
Try pretending that you are on a bumpy road, going up and down a hill, that there is a hole in the road, etc to add excitement to the activity.
■ [Rock-Scissors-Paper Glico] — An old-fashioned Japanese game
Many Japanese parents probably played this game when they were a child.
The rules are as follows: when playing “rock, scissors, paper”, rock means zero, scissors means walk 2 steps, paper means walk 5 steps.
This game is fun even if you are in a small room.
After your child gets the hang of it, you can change the terms to “Glico”, “Chocolate” and “Pineapple” for added excitement.
■ [Snakes and Ladders Drawing Game] on Paper
On a piece of paper draw a big “lollipop” and “snail” with a thick marker in a spiral pattern.
Split up the drawings in 2cm squares with visible lines.
Using “rock, scissors, paper” or a set of dice, have the children take turns coloring in the squares.
They will have fun coloring in the outer swirls and the inner swirls.
At the end, you will have a great piece of art to hang up on the wall.
■ Ripping Up Newspaper
This activity is great for children that want to move around a lot.
While one short song is playing on the radio, hold an old newspaper in your hands and have the children punch at it one by one.
They will have a sense of accomplishment from ripping the paper and enjoy the music as well.
Use a different song when it is time for clean up and make putting the torn-up paper into garbage bags a competition and they will have fun helping out.
Start by making a ball using the newspaper that you cleaned up from the last activity.
You can then use the ball for an easy form of volleyball where everyone is on his or her knees.
By staying on your knees, you prevent the ball from going too far away and causing damage inside the house.
If you combine the “Ripping up Newspaper” activity and the “Volleyball on your knees” activity, even a child that likes moving around a lot will be satisfied.
■ Follow the Leader Dance
In this activity, while facing each other participants copy each other’s gestures.
If one person raises their left arm, the other person also raises their left arm like they are looking in a mirror.
Even for adults, this activity requires concentration and eye-contact skills and is a good chance for you to look directly at your child.
There are a lot of other activities that can be easily done at home.
It is also fun to change the rules by location.