Time to Play: The Old Fashioned Way

By Holly Zegalia, Founder, I like it Frantic

I know many people will say I’m too young to know an “old fashioned” way to play. But there is a difference in the way our children play and the way I played as a child. For our family, we are getting back to basics. The toys are wonderful, and the more modern ones the better.

But there seems to be a disconnect between a lot of parents and their children. I worked in daycare for five years. The other classes would play on the computer, watch TV and play with toys. Our class was developing in a different way. We used simple items that are already in most homes to explore our world: shaving cream and a drop of food coloring to paint pictures, a drop of peppermint oil in a tub of water to calm us as we splashed (trust me, I know it sounds contradictory but peppermint is actually a very calming scent) and a sheet to build a fort.

In this economic crisis, many families cannot afford to buy the latest and greatest toy. The “old fashioned” way to play can cost absolutely nothing. Many activities will use items from around the house.

The next time your child asks you to play, turn off the phones, computer and TV. Turn on the imagination and try one of these:

  • Grab your favorite music. Move the furniture out of the way and dance the blues away.
  • Build a fort. Use a simple blanket or sheet and you can pretend to be campers or pioneers.
  • Write a list of items in your neighborhood and go on a scavenger hunt.
  • Take the time to do a silly walk. Every few steps call out a different way to walk: waddle like a duck, stomp like an elephant, run like a cheetah.
  • Grab a jar, poke a few holes and catch some fireflies, caterpillars or worms. Remember to discuss that these are outside animals and while they are nice to watch for awhile before you go inside you should set them free.
  • Play flashlight tag. Pick someone to be the tagger. The tagger counts to 10 and goes hunting. If you are found with the flashlight beam you become the tagger. This is great to play with the neighborhood kids when it’s dusk and they have pent up energy from being in school all day.
  • Make your own Play-Doh or Silly Putty.
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