A recent survey has found that half of all parents believe modern life is so hectic that it is impossible to devote enough time to playing with their children.
The survey found that long working hours, lengthy commutes and "unavoidable commitments" have left millions frustrated by the lack of opportunities to have fun with their families.
Helen Ellison, founder of The Jollybox Company, comments, 'It is sad that modern life has made it harder for many parents to spend important playtime with their children. Not only does it help a child's social development, it is also helps parents to build their relationship with their children whilst having fun.
'It is sometimes difficult for parents to feel inspired and create games for their children after a long day at work, perhaps this is the reason that parents compensate by buying them things instead? But setting aside half an hour everyday for imaginative playtime with your child can help them develop and learn through action and experience and can achieve so much more than an expensive toy or computer game can. It will also encourage children to use their imagination to create their own games and activities, ending feelings of guilt and obligation and also the expense associated with having to constantly provide toys in order for them to have fun.'
Play Time Ideas
Use everyday outings or events, to encourage children to use their imagination. Get your child to imagine shopping for an imaginary event, for example, a Superhero tea party. Encourage two - way conversation Ã¢Â€Â˜what will you buy and why', creating make-believe shopping lists. Throw in some problems to solve; how would a Superhero eat a particular food with their mask on?
Suggest themed scenarios to your child i.e. Ã¢Â€Â˜let's pretend we are walking on the moon'. This type of play will encourage them to express ideas and feelings to cope with new or unusual circumstances.
Use props Ã¢Â€Â“ draw a picture on a piece of paper and get your child to mimic the emotion or feeling of that word by acting it out i.e. Ã¢Â€Â˜cold', Ã¢Â€Â˜hot', Ã¢Â€Â˜happy', Ã¢Â€Â˜sad'. You could turn this into a game to guess the word or even ask them to act out a funny situation whilst feeling the emotion.
Drawing and colouring Ã¢Â€Â“ choose one or two words or even objects from around the house and encourage your child to draw what that word or object may mean to them.
Imaginary world Ã¢Â€Â“ create an imaginary place that you will visit. What will you wear, who will you see, what will happen there? You can also use this game to draw related pictures or play related games.
Enjoy it! If you look like you are having fun your child will have fun too.