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Five Ways A Father Can Encourage Play With His Children

This post is sponsored by The Genius of Play.

When I was young, physically play was plentiful and second nature. There were no cell phones (gasp!), movies were something we had to rent, along with the VCR, and although the Atari and Nintendo were awesome, it would be several years before my parents could afford to get one. Passing the time as a kid involved lots of playtime and imagination.

My favorite toys were Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars, pretending to play basketball with a small ball and a laundry basket, and some Star Wars action figures. Boy did I imagine the best races, championships, and movies!

My how times have changed. It seems like everyone owns a cell phone, Blu-ray player, computer, video game console… Technology has come so far. You don’t even need those other items if you own a smart phone; it’s all in the phone. And it sure is easy to get consumed by it. As a father of four, I can definitely tell you that it’s very easy for me to not only be occupied by a phone, but even worse, allowing my kids to play on a tablet for far longer than they should. It’s easy.

When you have children who are wild and loud and you just want peace and quiet, at times the path to least resistance might be to hand out tablets or to turn on a kids movie.

I’m not in any way saying that phones or tablets are bad for children. They certainly have their benefits when used in moderation. But my constant goal is to get my kids playing together and to use their imagination.

Genius of Play

Imagine my delight when I discovered The Genius of Play! Their mission is to provide families with the information and inspiration they need to make play an important part of their child’s day. Sure, toys and playtime is fun, but The Genius of Play looks into why it’s fun, and why it’s essential for the development of your child. The information they present from a wide array of doctors and toy industry experts is a must-read for any parent.

Be especially sure to check out 6 Benefits of Play and Play Ideas.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to team up with The Genius of Play! The following is five ways that I have encouraged play with my kids.

Playtime Idea #1: Cardboard Box Spaceship

DIY daddy Project

My kids went wild about this! I took two floor freezer boxes and turned them into a fun spaceship. You can build one like this too! Click here follow my easy steps.

Our spaceship is large (8 foot wing span!) because I wanted all of us to be able to fit inside. Pretend pilots? Check! Pretend mission control? Check! Pretend spacewalks? Check! Preflight checklist? CHECK! This ship will be our #1 playtime favorite for weeks!

Playtime Idea #2: Indoor Baseball

Indoor Baseball

This great playtime idea can be found over at The Genius of Play. Parents wouldn’t normally encourage their kids to play baseball in the house… but this version is indoor-friendly and fun!

All you need is a balloon, a cardboard tube, something soft for bases like pillows, and an imagination! Afterward we had fun blowing up a bunch a balloons and tossing them around. Take me out to the ball game!

Playtime Idea #3: Coin Spinning

Coin Spinning

Our kids love to spin coins, so I made it more interesting for them. We bought a poster board and I drew up some targets for them to aim at, with various point levels. There’s some strategy involved here, but overall this is an easy and inexpensive way to play with your kids!

Playtime Idea #4: Hot Potato

Hot Potato

Here’s an oldie but goodie! I remember playing this as a kid, and I enjoyed teaching this to my kids. Grab a radio and a raw potato, arrange the players in a circle, and start tossing the potato while the music is playing! A player is out when the music stops and they’re left holding the potato. Whoever is left standing, or sitting, wins!

Playtime Idea #5: Hop To It

Hop To It

Our last game here is again from the huge list of games over at The Genius of Play. It’s like Duck, Duck, Goose! except the players are rabbits! Instead of walking or running, you hop! Our kids LOVED this game.

One of the biggest things that I gleaned from these five activities is: Playtime can be simple and fun!

Playtime doesn’t have to be an elaborate or expensive activity. You and your kids can have fun doing the simplest things while indoors or outside. And there are so many other long-lasting benefits. Not only are you spending valuable time with your children, you are also helping them to develop essential thinking abilities and skills that will stay with them forever.

Thank you Genius of Play for helping me to discover how I can encourage play with my kids!

I am a husband and father of four wonderful kids. I love the outdoors, home projects, and doing fun things with my family! The DIY Daddy blog is DIY living from a dad perspective.