Today, Quaker has asked us to share some of our favorite family play ideas and tips as part of Quaker’s Keep Playing! With Chewy campaign (check out #KeepPlaying on your social media sites to see what it’s all about!). Quaker realizes just how important it is for families to have fun and spend time together – and so do we!
Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post to win your own Playdate Kit ($100 value), supplied by Quaker!
As pediatric therapists, we’re naturally drawn to family activities that are more than just fun – ones that give our kids exposure to important experiences and skills that will support healthy motor, sensory, cognitive, social, and emotional development.
From hiking, biking, and camping to sports and board games, we know how important it is to connect with our families by spending quality time together. Family play doesn’t have to involve a lot of planning and set-up and is usually the most fun when it’s spontaneous! Check out some of our favorite tips.
3 Tips for Fun and Easy Family Play
1 || Get Moving!
Physically active family play is one of the most important experiences you can give to your child. Not only do movement-based play activities keep everyone involved and interested (including mom and dad), they are awesome for sensory and motor skill development too!
Older siblings are usually great at modeling new motor skills to younger kids – and younger kids always want to keep up with their older brothers and sisters. Through active play with kids, parents set the stage for a healthy lifestyle that makes exercise a priority.
Get active with your kids today! Backyard games can get the whole neighborhood in on the action, rough house play is perfect for burning up some of that kid energy, and pool games are awesome for getting everyone moving and having fun together!
2 || Keep it Simple!
You don’t need a whole lot of fancy toys and equipment to make family play fun and beneficial. Many of our favorite activities require very little set-up – or none at all! There are lots of fun and easy activities you can do with your family that require materials that you probably already have around the house.
We love simple family play with bubbles, hula hoops, stickers – or even a picnic blanket!
3 || Appeal to the Senses
It is so important for kids to have exposure to a variety of sensory experiences in a safe and comfortable environment. There’s nowhere a child feels more comfortable and confident about trying new things than at home with his family! This is where sensory play comes in!
The best part about sensory play is that it tends to appeal to a wide range of ages from babies to toddlers to preschoolers and beyond! See if you can incorporate all of the sensory systems into your family’s play activities.
Try an Outdoor Sensory Motor Scavenger Hunt with the whole family, get everyone in on some fun sensory water play, or put those sniffers to work exploring the sense of smell! Not up for a big mess? No worries! Messy tactile play is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sensory fun. Check out these 35 Mess-Free Sensory Play Activities for Kids!
Our Keep Playing Family Playdate
We had a blast during our Keep Playing family playdate with my sister and her kids, thanks to the awesome playdate kit provided by Quaker! Stocked up with Quaker Chewy Granola Bars and tons of other awesome playdate gear, this kit had us moving, playing, and laughing for hours together as a family! Quaker Chewy Granola Bars contain 8 grams of whole grains in every bar and were the perfect hassle-free snack to give us the fuel we needed to help keep playing and sharing the fun together.
One of my favorite things about kids is how they invent their own games and activities when given even the simplest toys and props. They immediately grabbed the NERF Bash Ball out of the playdate kit, kicked it and tossed it around for a few minutes, and then quickly came up with their own way to race it up and down the slide in the backyard! We also played a few rounds of relay races with the Bash Ball, similar to our Pumpkin Relay Race. So much fun!
Our family loves a little friendly competition. There is rarely a family event where a baseball game or volleyball game doesn’t break out in the backyard. First it’s usually the kids, and then the grownups can’t help but join in. One of our favorite backyard games is Bocce Ball. Luckily, there was a brand new Bocce set in our playdate kit! The competition can be pretty fierce, and as you can see, even my baby belly isn’t enough to keep me out of the game!
Then it was time for a snack and a quick swing on the hammock. The kids devoured their Quaker® Chewy® Granola Bars (they come in lots of fun flavors: Chocolate Chip, S’mores and Oatmeal Raisin), which were the perfect way to fuel up while we played, because let’s be honest…kids usually can’t be slowed down to sit and eat when there are fun toys and a whole crew of cousins to play with! The kids loved the S’mores bars and my sister and I went for the Chocolate and Salted Caramel – YUM!
Finally, we hit the shade to cool down a little bit and make some sidewalk chalk masterpieces. The kids decided on a “castle” theme for all of their drawings, making the patio into a pretty cool mural with all of their pictures. Such a fun day with our family!
To help inspire families’ playtime together and fuel fun, Quaker is inviting parents to participate in its Keep Playing! With Chewy promotion by submitting a photo of their family’s favorite place to have fun for a chance to win $25,000 to make over their play space.
Now through June 13, 2015, families can visit www.ChewyKeepPlaying.com for a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize to make over their favorite play space – plus, weekly giveaway winners will be randomly selected for a $500 gift card. See www.ChewyKeepPlaying.com for official rules.
And, we’re giving our readers here at The Inspired Treehouse a chance to win an awesome Quaker Playdate Kit just like the one we used during our family playdate! Enter below and you could be the winner!
*Quaker is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to us. This program is not administered or sponsored by Quaker or its affiliates, but solely by The Inspired Treehouse.
Playdate Kit Contents:
Playdate Kits will feature a variety of indoor and outdoor play items, including:
-A Chewy Playdate invitation pack to plan your next playdate
-A classic Bocce Ball set for endless hours of outdoor summer play
-A Gazillion Bubble Monsoon bubble machine for the whole family to enjoy
-Sidewalk chalk set to get creative outdoors
-A puzzle perfect for indoor or outdoor play
-A red storage bin for storing your family’s favorite toys
-A NERF Bash Ball for easy family fun
-A variety of Chewy Granola Bars to help fuel family play, including, Big Chewy Sweet & Salty Bars and Chewy Granola Bars Variety Pack
Total giveaway value is approximately $100
*Note: Chewy Granola Bars may contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts. As a playdate host, please be sure to inform your guests in case of food allergies.
US RESIDENTS ONLY