At almost two decades into the 21st Century, family structures have continued to constantly evolve into dramatically different entities from earlier generations. Traditional, single-parent, step, extended, and grandparenting family structures, all have great strengths and, of course, some weaknesses. However, they all share their truly unique, diverse and amazing dynamics, while heaping copious amounts of love, tenderness, authentic attention, and the ever-important-play-time, upon each other.
Why Make Family Play Plans
When parents strive for and achieve, with children, special moments which are so joyous, they cannot be “put into words”, true happiness is achieved for everyone. A child’s real” first” happens when it is in front of their parent(s). Parents and parental figures, all accept the fact that encouraging and fostering physical, social, intellectual, and emotional well being in children, is their focus and motivation, for those quickly fleeting 18 summers.
Having play-plans, which are partly detailed to encourage motor, sensory, cognitive, and emotional growth; coupled with funny-bone, silly, and spontaneous experiences; give every family the crucial bonding time, and skill sets necessary for happiness and achievement in life.
Play Planning, As Easy As 1…2….3
Play planning doesn’t have to be extraordinarily complicated. The healthiest and most vigorous plans involve:
“Movement Based Play” which gets everyone active, and away from vegging in front of a screen.
Turning the backyard into strangely shaped goals, (tree trunks and bushes will do), and a soccer field/football field is easy. Picking team mates, and showing off unknown talents in catching, dodging, passing goal-tending, and creating unique (dap) victory dances, turns this simplistic fun into a melding of hearts, and a desire for life-long exercise.
A Frisbee toss challenge can even involve the four-footed members of the family, although they are often very hard to beat.
Planning a hiking adventure, nearby or farther, to see new places in the world close up, and on foot, altogether. Picking the destination, grabbing walking shoes, fav food, purified water, and checking the weather, is all it takes to enjoy nature. “Between every two pines is the doorway to a new world”, according to J. Muir. Experiencing it together is priceless.
Plans to embrace the lake, or ocean (if available), offer spectacular aquatic adventures. Paddle boarding can be done in pairs or solo/group participation, and has a low learning curve requiring balance, and focus, which all ages can embrace. It takes about an hour to get comfortable, and confident in stand-up paddle boarding, and the fun is endless. If you find that the whole family wants to explore new waterways together, inflatable paddle boards are offered for long-distance travel. This sport is one of the best full body workouts for everyone. Being on the water is calming and a great stress reliever. There is no limit to what can occur when members of a family are set-in-motion, on land, water or skyward.
Prioritized Family Play Planning isn’t daunting, it just means utilizing a little bit of forethought and preparation, based on the interests of your kids. Piling everyone into the family car for a quick trip to a museum, can be “a magical memory maker” for everyone. The prioritized planning includes making sure that the activities offered are:
• “hands-on” such as a science exhibit, requiring use of the museum’s telescope, gyroscope, microscope, or other observational and mechanical tools
• “Engaging” with the unknown, such as artfully observing mummies and actual sarcophaguses, for example
• “Family Events”, museum created, like quirky scavenger hunts to find Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur bones, or exploring a “Magnificent Me” exhibit, where family members can go inside a simulated body, squeeze the heart, stretch the muscles, touch the bones, feel the brain, and see how the body is magnificently designed for a healthy life.
Planned Sensory Play – Cultural
Planned activities which include sensory stimulation are very important for children of every age. A themed culture night, where foods, spices, music, traditions, and the distance from home, peek imagination and curiosity. Yes, it takes some planning, but the knowledge learned, tasting and listening, and exposure to other cultures, builds healthy interactive skills, respect, and greater social interaction.
A Night in India Event could include:
• Making and drinking the masala chai tea with its sweet milk, sugar and kheer (a fruit), it’s the most popular drink of an entire population, 8000 miles away, on the Arabian Sea.
• Listening to India’s most popular singer, Mohammad Rafi
• Eating tasty Naan bread, sampling curry and rice, fruit chutney, samosa pastries, and dosa, a pancake, the staples of India’s dietary choices
Planned Sensory Play - “Tactile”
All children need to learn to become fully engaged in sensory play. The tactility of building sand castles, blowing bubbles, creating their own sticky glues and scented finger paints, wallowing in mud, rolling in snow, jumping on the trampoline, water play of every kind, hanging and climbing on a trapeze and monkey bars, all of these activities fine tune their motor muscles and cognitive skills. When siblings and parents get involved, true family bonding occurs.
Planned Family Play - Board games
Playing board games together, in-house, or sitting cross-legged on the grass, at a designated time, when busy parents and their very loved, children make the effort to: come together, challenge each other, take turns, strategize, win, lose, invent nick-names, cooperate, be silly, and have special family fun, during every stage of their life’s journey. This is when true magic happens, brain function increases, stress is reduced, and planning pays precious dividends for everyone.
At the Lucky Poke Game, we understand that poking holes is very tactile fun, and playing together for surprises and prizes is all about loving, supporting, and interacting with each other. Take the Lucky Poke Challenge soon to see if you can pop just one?