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Today’s generation of young learners are exposed to so many things that vie for their attention. Getting a chunk of their time to simply spend a few moments with them is already a luxury so parents should take full advantage of it. With the myriad of technological inventions that capture their interest, it is sometimes encouraged that children take time off from these gadgets and “go offline” to do more meaningful, person-to-person activities.

Parents, on the other hand, are also encouraged to allocate personal time for their children. In today’s busy world, it is often more convenient to leave these youngsters to “technology nannies” like television and computers. However, personal interaction is still important, especially during the formative years. Children, particularly the younger ones, crave time and attention from their parents or caregivers. While children also need time to play by themselves or with peers from their age group, playtime with their family, whether with their parents or with extended family members, is also an important part in their growth.

Let’s play together!

Playing with your children not only develops strong familial bonds. It also promotes good social skills such as cooperation, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Moreover, it develops patience and creativity as well as strengthens motor, cognitive, problem-solving and language skills. 

Here are some ways to spend quality time with your children through interactive playtime:

1.Play games. 

There are a multitude of fun games that you can play with your children. Choose from board games, puzzles, word games, even wacky and silly games that with a little bit of imagination and creativity can be turned into a learning experience. Some examples of these are Hide and Seek; Follow the leader, or Simon Says. 

2.Bring the fun outdoors.

It doesn’t have to be the great outdoors. Just playing in the yard, the community playground or a safe, open space in your neighbourhood can be a venue for children to enjoy playtime with you. Enrich their observation skills by playing I Spy or strengthen their physical skills by playing tag, going on a scavenger hunt or simply skipping rope with them. 

3.Be crafty.

Playtime need not always be active. Sometimes, a little quiet time can also be beneficial for both parents and children. Engage in some arts and crafts. Draw, paint, and make collages together. Sometimes, their artwork can also be a tool for them to communicate with you as some children express themselves better through their artwork.

4.Read together.

Reading can be fun especially when done together. You can take turns reading a paragraph or a chapter. You can also opt to act out scenes that you read as a follow-up activity or play charades based on the story that you read. This activity can also be used to assess reading comprehension and language skills. You can make up or write a story together, which is an excellent way to practice language and vocabulary skills.

5.Play some tunes.

For some, music is a great way to relax and unwind. Sing songs – kiddie songs, songs that rhyme, made-up songs, funny songs. Hum together, make funny sounds or play with musical instruments. It doesn't matter whether or not you can sing like a pop star or play like Beethoven, what matters is that you have fun while learning and doing things together. 

6.Make some moves. 

Dance like no one’s watching. Be creative, be silly, and be as carefree as you can be. Aside from being good exercise, dancing also releases stress and can be an outlet to unleash your young one’s creativity through movement. A kiddie game, like the Hokey-Cokey, is a classic game that teaches them to follow instructions and at the same time, learn the names for body parts. 

Sharing playtime with your children can open up communication channels and encourage them to be more open which will eventually help them as they socialise in the world. Spending as much time as you can with them through playful activities can also allow you to guide them and enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

As you engage them in fun and interactive activities, you also nurture your bond with them as parents. Playtime does not have to be expensive or need a lot of tools. All you need is a little time and imagination and it can lead you to have a stupendous time together.