Learning for LIfe: Play time with mom or dad the best fun for your child




Posted on December 17, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 19 at 9:50 AM

You don't have to stand in long lines to get your child a favorite new toy. You likely already hold that honor.

You don't need expensive toys for family fun - just turn simple household chores and items into family entertainment.

Finding that perfect playground, a place for a child to learn and laugh, is a treat for parents and kids alike.

During these dreary winter months, the fun moves inside, but the good news is there are plenty of ways to keep those little hands and busy minds active.

Community play and learn groups like this one are becoming increasingly popular, but every parent knows finding fun things to do inside their own home is often the biggest challenge.

The good news is child experts say you don't need anything fancy to make time with your little one both fun and educational. You just need to be creative, patient, and willing to let chores take a little longer.

"Sometimes we think we that we have to sit rigid in a chair and read directions and say 'ok, we have to do this and this and this.' Or they take a pen and say 'ok, you need to make a circular line like this and it has to be round.' But no you don't! Anything can be play - if your child sees you cooking, if your child sees you folding laundry, you can ask them to help you," said Bianca Garcia, Neighborhood House.

And it doesn't stop there. There are plenty of ways to incorporate a touch of education and entertainment into even the most mundane errands.

"A trip to the grocery store is an opportunity for children to learn about the world around them by their caregivers and their parents to point out colors, shapes and sizes, smells, textures," said Lisa Conley, Childcare Resources.

It's important to remember that the simplest toys like balls, dolls, even boxes can keep a child just as enthralled as with something more high tech. And even though the weather outside may seem frightful, the outdoors remain a great place for children to run, climb, and dream even if they have to dodge a few winter-time raindrops.