As a Mom it can feel like our 'To Do Lists' are never-ending. Do you ever get to the end of a day and realize that you haven't just simply sat and played with your kids? We do all the time and it can be really frustrating. So we've come up with five super simple play set ups especially for busy Moms to enjoy with their kids. With Mother's Day coming up we'd love to help you Make Time Together with your kids!
1. Sensory Bin
Often parents recoil at the words sensory bin because they immediately fear lots of mess. It doesn't have to be that way. One of our favorite sensory bins could not be any simpler- water! Just add some water to a storage box or large bowl, throw in a few loose parts (e.g. sea creatures, ping pong balls, rocks, water beads), and add some tools such as pipettes and scoopers. We especially love the Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set, as shown in the picture below.
Sure you might need to put a few towels down and mop up a bit of spilt water, but playing with water is always such a hit with kids of all ages. It's actually still pretty fun as a Mom too! There are so many easy ways to change up the play by adding different materials and tools. You could add ice cubes, coloring, toy boats, sponges, funnels ... so many options!
If your kiddo is really young, you can even put the water in a Ziploc bag to contain the mess for them.
We love sitting down to enjoy some water play with our kids because it is such an open-ended sensory experience. There's no need to be giving out constant instructions, or worrying about an end product. You can just be hands on and have a fun splash around with your kids.
2. Building Brick Challenge
As you know, we love building bricks! How often do you sit down with your kids and just build with them- no interruptions or distractions? Setting a specific challenge can be fun as it encourages collaboration and there is an end goal to work towards. It can be as simple as providing a box of bricks and challenging each other to build a boat that floats, or to build cars that then race against each other, or even to build a beautiful house together.
The purpose is not to build an outstanding creation, the purpose is to simply enjoy quality time together working towards a shared goal.
3. Together Art
Even if you are not a talented artist yourself, it can be fun to indulge in some creative art together with your littles. Again, it does not need to be an elaborate project. It can be as simple as drawing or painting portraits of each other, exploring different process art techniques such as tissue paper bleeding, or even just freely painting away on a large piece of paper together. One of our favorite things to do as Mom / kid time is to indulge in some process art together. Here's a few examples of our easy to set up projects.
Painting on tin foil:
Building brick printing:
Tape resist rolling pin painting:
Plastic wrap or bubble wrap painting:
4. Invitation to Play
An invitation to play is simply an inviting set up of materials that aims to encourage creative play. Our favorite way to set these up in a quick and organized manner is to use a chip tray. Choose a few different materials that support a theme and then kick back and relax with your kiddos as imaginations run wild. Some super easy materials to always have handy for invitations to play are play dough, pipe cleaners, wooden blocks, googly eyes, felt, beads, glass pebbles, play animals, pom poms, craft sticks, and buttons. Here's a few set ups that we've really enjoyed together:
Invitation to construct:
Invitation to cut hair:
Invitation to build a small world:
Invitation to sculpt play dough:
5. Book Based Play
If you are a Mom who struggles for inspiration when it comes to play, why not use your child's favorite books to direct your activities. Whether you do an art project based on the book, enjoy some character role play, or even re-create the book as a small world, children's books are a great resource. It will give you a focal point for your play as well as being great for discussion points. Here's a few examples:
The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr:
Old Tracks New Tricks by Jessica Petersen
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone:
We hope we've given you some fresh inspiration to take a little time to set up some purposeful play with your kiddo, as so often it results in lots of happy memories! It can be so hard to balance being a Mom with the daily grind, but be intentional when planning time together as a family. You won't regret it!
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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