As families have spent more and more time at home, we’ve all worked hard to come up with new and interesting kids games, home-based activities and fun projects. The Early Years team from Singapore American School (SAS) suggests parents get involved in some of this play time too. Here they share three fun ideas for family activities we can do together at home to keep everyone active and playful. As the school’s certified movement specialist Laura C. Schuster, says “We make our happiness best when we all play together!”
#1 Movement inspired, home-based activities
Moving together as a family is a great vehicle for some bonding and some good old shared family fun. It could be as simple as singing ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ in a different language while remembering all the actions, or making your own movement inspired home-based activities around classics like ‘Simon Says’.
For a mindfulness movement activity, why not try introducing your little ones to Yoga Flow movements? You can really go on an adventure through yoga; before long, you and your child alike will be doing downward dogs, pigeons, cat stretches and holding as still as a tree.
Another movement-based activity is to try ‘Mirroring’ one another. Simply face each other, then allow one person to lead and the other follow. Then take turns and switch with leading and following. This activity usually ends up in barrels of laughs as the movements can become more bizarre and tricky as the game progresses.
#2 Dancing with the family
There’s plenty of research out there to show the benefits of dancing for both kids and adults. Why not try teaching your child a dance from your era (or a past era)? You could try ‘The Pony’, ‘The Bump’, ‘The Swim’, a ‘Swing’ dance, a ‘Freeze’ dance, the cha-cha-cha, or even a made-up one!
Name it and claim it, and enjoy going wild with your moves together, with dance inspired home-based activities.
#3 Home-based activities involving rituals
Making new family rituals can fortify communication and bonding, and you can lean on your mini-family traditions for years to come. Why not try ‘Laugh of the Day’ where you can share something that has tickled your funny bone. Make sure it is a ‘laughing-with’ joke or a circumstantial funny, and never at anyone’s expense. Kids can take these family rituals into young adulthood and beyond.
Another great idea is to use the salt and pepper shakers on your table (or any other prop) and take turns to tell a ‘happy and a sad’ story. You can place the salt shaker in front of the person speaking, so the focus is on them while they’re given a space to share their day. You can always add different flavours to this game by coming up with different variations, for different ritual-based family activities.
Another idea for rituals, could be to ‘Go on a Bold Adventure’. Use a hat or a covered bowl or container and paper or post-it notes. Have everyone write down the adventures, trips and experiences they would like to do as a family. Write or draw one idea per paper, then fold it and place everyone’s ideas into the hat. You can set a budget or time-limit parameters beforehand to ensure the ideas are ‘doable’.
Then, simply take turns picking out the adventures to plan and enjoy as a family. For example, you could let your youngest pull out the ‘mystery’ adventure-paper first. Whatever is pulled out, be sure to cheer for it – and plan for it so it happens! You can brainstorm first or just let everyone write or dream up their own choice. You’ll be amazed how exciting it is for the whole family!
Enjoy trying out these family activities and kids games to enjoy both the best and bumpiest of times.
For tips and ideas on how to support your child further, speak to an early-ages educator at SAS, or join one of their future panel discussions.
Visit Singapore American School’s website here.