5 Strategies for Planning Play

5 Strategies for Planning Play - http://www.encourageplay.com/blog/5-strategies-for-planning-play

Here are five strategies you can use to help set the stage for an enjoyable play experience:

1.  Incorporate different types of play.

A child who plays well is comfortable with many forms of play.  Some categories of play include gross motor, fine motor, pretend play, construction, sensory, etc.  Gross motor activities include tag, obstacles courses and races.  Activities like rainbow loom or stringing beads are more fine motor play.  Some popular themes of pretend play include restaurant, school and space.  Construction can be out of all kinds of different materials like blocks, play doh, or even recycling.  Sensory can be using sand, rice or beans. Exposure to different types of play leads to valuable experiences.

2.  Try to keep the play in the real world, not the world of video games.

I would classify myself as a gamer, so this is not intended to be a diatribe about the evils of gaming. In fact, a lot of video games these days have a cooperative social component to them.  Minecraft, Animal Crossing and Pokémon are a few examples.  Sometimes, however, kids rely too heavily on these gaming interactions.  Real world social skills need to be exercised to develop, so practicing those real world interactions is important.

3.  Bring out those board games and card games!

Remember those rainy days playing go fish, or putting up hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place? Card games and board games are great at helping kids learn turn taking, following the rules and good sportsmanship skills. When planning, think about what situations might lead to difficulties and talk it through with your child beforehand.  How should they react when they lose a game? Or when they win?

4. Introduce new activities and use old items in new ways.

As a mom, sometimes I feel like I get stuck playing the same stuff over and over again and I just want to change it up.  Pinterest is a great place to find different activities for kids.  Try a different type of art project or a science experiment, or use Legos to make a marble maze.   You never know what they may like. It’s good practice to try something new.  It’s a great way to help your child figure out what they enjoy doing, and maybe they will even find a passion for something in an unexpected place!

5.  Design short and structured play dates.

If your child is uncomfortable with play dates it’s important to make sure there are time limits and the activities are planned in advance. Within this framework, play should be child directed, but an adult should be around to help when play stalls or the children are unable to resolve a conflict.

Copyright © Encourage Play, LLC 2013-2017