Archive for November, 2013

Indoor Play Ideas to Keep Kids Active and Out of the Cold

November 27th, 2013 by

It may not officially be winter yet, but temperatures are dropping and it’s dark at 5 o’clock, so we won’t tell anyone if you let the “W” word slip when you’re talking about the season. These chilly and short days make it hard to get all the play in that your kids are used to from the summer, and many of us find it easier (and certainly warmer) to stay indoors.

While not as invigorating as the outdoors, indoor spaces provide plenty of play opportunities. With a little imagination, kids can get the creative outlet and physical activity they need — all within the comfort of a warm home. Read on for four indoor play ideas to keep on hand for those especially nippy days.

1. Build pillow forts

Turn your living room into an architectural masterpiece when you break out the blankets and pillows to make a pillow fort. Your kids can use chairs and side tables for support as they create a new world under their blanket fortress. When they’re done building, you can mix up the hot chocolate or cider and do an activity like playing cards, telling stories, or drawing.

2. Play Hide and Seek in the dark

No night vision goggles allowed—turn off the lights and play a nighttime game of Hide and Seek in your house. As you let your eyes adjust, your kids will have to use all of their senses to navigate around all those walls and tables they took for granted when the lights were on. It’ll be much tougher to find each other in the dark, making this a game that could keep you busy for quite a while!

3. Twist and shout with athletic games

Even with limited indoor space, you and your kids can still stay active during the winter. Spread out the Twister mat for a couple rounds of tangled fun. You can also use a regular board game and add rules like “Once everyone has taken a turn, we all have to walk up and down the stairs two times” to get some exercise while you play.

4. Head to Play N’ Learn’s indoor playgrounds

If your kids are missing their playsets during the winter, you can always come by Play N’ Learn’s indoor showroom. We have as many playsets as your kids could ever want to play on, with all types of special features and add ons. We offer open play sessions during store hours and free play on selected days and hours. It’s a fun way to get out of the house, play hard, and meet new friends — all while staying warm.

So don’t let the cold weather cramp your play style — there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you and your kids busy during those chilly fall and winter days. Do you have an indoor play idea your kids love? Let us know below in comments.


How Much Play Supervision is Too Much? Three Ways to Let Go of Control

November 12th, 2013 by

Letting our kids run wild in the world can be a daunting idea. From scraped knees to traffic to tough social interactions with other kids, it can be tempting to stay by our kids’ side at all times and swoop in at the first sign of distress.

Yet today’s culture of constant supervision (and helicopter parenting) could actually hurt rather than help our kids, and it’s important to strike a balance. When parents are always present during play time, it can lead kids to think of their mom or dad as the leader of their play time. That doesn’t sound so bad, but when you don’t have an activity planned or you’re unable to play with your kids, they end up not knowing what to do, getting bored, and turning to easy diversions like video games while they wait for your lead.

According to blogger and author Lenore Skenazy, who wrote Free Range Kids, children need

So how can you loosen your reins — and get to the point where your kids can have free play?

1. Teach your kids boundaries when they are young

When your kids are young, teach them how to act appropriately and make good decisions in play. Help them try out the playground equipment and take risks while you’re around to supervise their first try, but gradually back off and let them do more on their own. Show them fun games they can play with their friends, like tag and basketball, and help them learn the rules that make these games run smoothly.

2. Start to walk away

Once your kids are old enough to lead their own play outside of the house, start to give them some independence. Let them play in the yard on the playset or with the basketball hoop while you’re inside or in the yard doing other things. When the time is right, let them venture outside your yard and out into the neighborhood. As they build skills and confidence, let them go further afield.

3. Take it to the playground

Bring your kids and their friends to the playground or park and let them run loose. You can go to a different area of the park and read a book or just relax while they figure out how to entertain themselves. Letting your kids learn how to be outside the perceived safety of the yard and make responsible decisions while playing is a skill they’ll need as they get older. Remember that the independence and confidence they gain when you’re out of sight and out of mind is crucial for their development.

By teaching your kids how to take risks but be safe, you’ll instill values that they’ll take with them when they play on their own. Plus, you’ll get a little free time from not keeping a constant eye on what your kids are doing!