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Playful Ways to Approach Everyday Family Activities

When we approach everyday activities in a playful way, we reduce stress and enhance family connection. Shared play experiences can shift the energy of a challenging day spent together, navigating highs and lows. Play is also a powerful way to reconnect after a hectic day apart! Here are a few of our favorite ways to play, from breakfast to bedtime:

Make some music. 
Choose a family anthem to play as you prepare breakfast together or while everyone brushes their teeth. If you can’t agree on one special song, create a family playlist and include everyone’s favorite! A musical challenge might also motivate your child to get ready for the day. “Let’s try to get fully dressed before this song is finished!”

Tidy up with a game of “Freeze Cleanup.”
Work together to tidy up your home… as quickly as you can. When the music is on, you clean. When the music stops, you freeze! For a competitive spin, see who can clean up his or her room the fastest. 

Play on your way!
“I Spy” and simple guessing games add an element of fun to any commute. “I’m thinking of an animal that makes the sound ______ and lives _____. Can you guess my animal?” or “I’m thinking of a person we know that loves to ______ and lives _______.” Even if you’re simply walking your child to the bus stop, you can squeeze in a few quick rounds!

Invite your child to take on the role of “sous chef”.
As dinner time approaches, your child may simply crave your company. Rather than challenging your child to “go play” so you can make dinner in peace, try to welcome his/her assistance. Here are a few ways children can help in the kitchen: gathering ingredients, measuring, mixing, pouring, and even chopping narrow strips of fruits and veggies.

Get outside.
Enjoy outdoor snacks, meals, and even homework sessions! If your child hasn’t had much outdoor time on a particular day, take a family walk after dinner or read bedtime stories on the back patio. In cold or rainy weather, bundle up for a quick round of tag or hide-and-seek. This is a great way to expend some energy before bedtime and makes a warm bath more enticing.

For more ways to play, check out our on-demand class, Enhancing Family Connection Through Play. In this class, you’ll learn strategies to help you: 

★ Reconnect during challenging days/phases
★ Structure play experiences for the whole family
★ Prioritize play with limited distractions
★ Create engaging play spaces within your home

About the Author
Lauren Vien taught in private Manhattan preschools for over a decade before joining the Rose & Rex team as Education Director. With a masters in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from NYU, Lauren is deeply passionate about positive language and developmental play. She lives on the Upper West Side with her husband and two young children, Henry and Violet. Family pastimes include building with couch cushions, preparing plant-based meals, and scooting to neighborhood playgrounds.
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