When I was little, my favorite game to play with my dad was “Rumble Tumble.” My dad would lie on his back on the floor, and my siblings and I would stack ourselves on top, with the youngest always getting the comfortable top position. Then my dad would rock back and forth, chanting “rumble tumble, rumble tumble” until, one by one, we fell off giggling. This kind of silly fun, mixed with physical touch, is a great way to encourage closeness and attachment with children.
Here are five games you can play at home with your child or children, that need little or no preparation or supplies:
Toss the balloon
This game encourages cooperation, physical movement, and coordination. It can easily incorporate multiple family members. Supplies: balloons. Recommended age range: 3+
- Blow up a balloon (or two or more).
- Stand up and toss the balloon (or balloons) in the air.
- Don’t let the balloon touch the ground by gently hitting up and towards each other.
- To make it more challenging, add in more balloons, or keep the balloon in the air without using hands.
Blindfold obstacle course
This game encourages listening, communication, trust, and cooperation. Supplies: room with some movable furniture, or painter’s tape, or scrap paper. Recommended age range: 5+
- Create an obstacle course using furniture pulled into different positions in the room, which the child will have to maneuver around. You can adapt this by putting painter’s tape or large pieces of scrap paper on floor that the child has to avoid stepping on.
- Create a starting point and an end point, which the child needs to reach.
- Blindfold the child and put him or her at the start point.
- Explain that he or she has to get through the obstacle course by following your directions. If he or she touches the furniture (or tape, or paper), he or she has to start over.
- Give your child directions to get through the obstacle course successfully.
- Rearrange the obstacle course when it gets too easy.
- Take turns being blindfolded!
This game promotes dedicated attention, spontaneity, and silliness! It requires no supplies or set up. Recommended age range: 5+
- Stand face to face with your child.
- The leader makes slow, simple movements and the “mirror” has to, well, mirror those movements as smoothly as possible.
- The leader can make movements more complex for more of a challenge.
- Take turns being the leader!
Blow a feather
This game fosters cooperation and coordination. As a bonus, it requires deep, controlled breathing, which helps with relaxation and stress relief. This game can also incorporate multiple family members. Supplies: craft feathers. Recommended age range: 5+
- Stand close together with a craft feather in your cupped hands.
- Have your child cup his or her hands.
- Blow the feather back and forth, getting it to land on top of each others’ cupped hands.
- Stand further and further apart to increase the challenge.
Cotton ball hockey
This game is a competition between parent and child, and it also encourages deep, controlled breathing. Supplies: table, chairs, straws, one cotton ball, and scrap paper. Recommended age range: 5+
- Sit across from each other at a clear table.
- Use scrap paper or any other small objects to mark a “goal” on each side of the table.
- Each person uses a straw to blow a cotton ball across the table, trying to blow it into the other person’s goal and keeping it out of their own goal, without using hands.
- Keep score, or just play until you are out of breath!
These games all take just a few minutes to play, but can last as long as you want. Even just a few minutes of playing can give your kids the undivided attention they need from you, and increase positive interactions in your home. Enjoy these games one on one with a child that may need some special attention, include the whole family, or encourage more positive sibling interaction by teaching them to play these games together.
For more ideas and information about this type of play visit:
-Posted by Leslie Gunderson