While you are chasing your toddler around the store or answering your preschooler’s question for the tenth time, an older mom watches you nostalgically and says in the checkout line, “I know you’re tired now, but it goes by so fast.” You may be so busy taking care of them, enjoying them may be a stretch some days. It only takes a few minutes to make a memory though.
Desiring to give every educational advantage, parents schedule preschoolers for play dates, dance classes, gym time, swim lessons, educational field trips to the hands on discovery museum and more. Early childhood is all about learning for sure. But doing so in the context of the parent-child bond is often the most impactful and the most fun.
Okay kiddo, let’s schedule some spontaneous fun without any purpose right now! I’ve blocked ten-minutes of unstructured play. Sounds silly, right?
It may seem counterintuitive to keep a list of possible spontaneous activities to cultivate but the truth is, many of us simply aren’t good at letting go and having fun. Maybe the list below can spark some homespun fun, bonding and learning with your preschooler. Add to the list and make your own memories.
10-Minute Play Breaks Cook Together
Supernanny calls this the involvement strategy. Read books side by side on the porch, drinking lemonade. Combine math and fun, count everything! Count the toys. Count the books. Count the butterflies going by. Count the trees in the yard. Sing each other’s favorite songs while watering your yard. Lay down on a blanket outside (picnic style) and watch the clouds go by, tell each other the shapes you see. Buy a new box of crayons and draw portraits of each other. Pack a picnic lunch and go to the park to eat. See where the day takes you. Buy bird seed or bread and feed the birds or ducks at your local pond. Tell stories to each other with the listener providing the first line to the storyteller. Blow bubbles in the backyard. Play a new version of hide and seek with water guns. When a player is “found” squirt them! Do chalk art on your driveway or sidewalk together. Have an arts and crafts day. Works of art can decorate kid’s rooms or refrigerator. Collect old books and toys to take to a children’s hospital. Learning to give early develops empathy in your preschooler. Walk outside in your pajamas and count the stars before bedtime. Have fun with your little one. As the wise, older mom said, “It goes by so fast!”