Some parents find it easy to get down and creative with their kids, but most of us struggle with this task a little.
We might not have time, might lack the imagination we think is needed, or (let’s be honest now), don’t really enjoy kids activities all that much. There are loads of reasons (or excuses!)
But it’s a lot easier and much more fun than you realise – you just need a little help finding activities that you and your kids BOTH enjoy.
At Creative Mum Life, we encourage activities with your family, not just because we love them, but because there are oodles of reasons why providing engaging activities for your children is good for them, and for you too!
Why is being creative important for your children?
Asking your kids in the car or at dinner, ‘How was your day?’ seems to be a guaranteed method to get them to clam up.
Even littlies as young as 4 can tend to go all shy when prompted like this and forget everything that happened.
Communication can’t be forced with children; you need to encourage it by opening up opportunities for them to talk to you.
When you play with them or do activities like crafts or cooking you are giving them an open door to share details about themselves, and you will be surprised with just how much they share.
Having light-hearted activities with your kids also gives you more opportunities to speak positively to them.
You get the chance to laugh and talk together focusing on positive discussions rather than having the need to yell and give negative feedback all the time. Let’s face it, sometimes that does feel like that is all us mums do!
Promotes Social and Emotional Skills
This kind of interaction with you and other siblings, teaches all sorts of lovely social skills including sharing and taking turns, complimenting other people’s work and making gifts for other people. All prepping your child’s pre-schooling life so they’re ready to begin their educational journey.
You can also include informal lessons about recycling and using old household items, and not buying new toys whenever a child asks for something to do.
You can also help them to get in touch with emotions they are having difficulty expressing, by getting them to make abstract collages or paintings of how they are feeling.
Encourages Practice and Resilience
Children can commonly expect to be instantly great at everything new they try, and they may also give up rather quickly once they realise that they aren’t.
Raising strong, independent and confident children is a goal that we all have as parents.
Introducing activities with your kids and exposing them to the same types of structured play regularly can teach them skills like practicing and patience in learning.
They will see how the accumulative effect of their practice and effort will pay off; skills that are enormously useful when they go to school and later in life. They also discover the feeling of pride in themselves for what they have achieved.
Improves Literacy and Numeracy Skills
Activities like games, craft, and cooking can improve your child’s ability to grasp traditional learning concepts like literacy and numeracy.
Practical applications of measuring, addition, and scoring can help kids who are more active learners and would benefit from a different approach.
This kind of activity also encourages other skills in those who may not be traditionally high learners, because Maths, Science, and computers aren’t everything!
Your child might be strong at school, but can find new skills and build confidence when they are good at other things such as art, music, drama, cooking or sport.
Embraces the Spectrum
All children benefit from extra opportunities to communicate, socially interact and learn. This certainly extends to children with special needs, disabilities or learning disorders.
Structured play is excellent for children with autism, for example, allowing them to copy actions, explore outside their comfort zones, put themselves into other people’s shoes, share and take turns, and respond to other people.
This does so gently and in a way that earns trust and crafts confidence at the same time.
Art is wonderful for children to open up and express themselves in different ways and contexts. It offers the chance for self-expression and for them to determine their own narrative.
Now let's look at why getting into fun activities with your kids is awesome for YOU
Improves your mental health
Remembering to schedule in playtime has an incredible effect on your stress levels and mental health as an adult.
Parents are particularly guilty of forgetting how to play, or not prioritising their time so that they can play with their kids.
Time is a very valuable resource for parents, and activities with your children are usually not where you would spend time first.
But these are the moments that your children will recall later in life, not the ones where you were working, doing housework or generally nagging and yelling.
Scheduling time several times a week, or even daily if you can manage it, will lift your mood, lower your stress levels, and remind you how to have fun.
Laughing together with your child packs in massive mental health impact in a very small amount of time.
If playing one of your child’s games doesn’t really interest you, look for something to do together that you will both enjoy.
There are plenty of suggestions on our website for example!
Improves your physical health
If you schedule in time to do some active play with your kids, this will further help your mood, exposing you to exercise, fresh air and sunshine, not to mention a nice boost to your vitamin D levels.
Try playing some soccer or basketball, or another ball game for 15 minutes, which is adaptable to all age levels and capabilities.
Other favourite ways for kids to exert some energy is dance parties, and play musical statues. Sure to get everybody’s heart-rate up and gives a chance for everyone to pick their favourite tunes.
You can get help with chores
Children can do so much more than we give them credit for, and if you make this time fun and interactive, you can even get help with chores!
Try having a dance party to clean the play room or put away clothes, or use a cooking activity to teach your child how to make dinner once a week and give yourself a break.
Shows a side of your children you never knew
When you engage in activities with your kids you learn things about them that you may never discover otherwise (or would take a lot longer to find out anyway).
You can learn if they are struggling with school, relationships or their own emotions, for example.
They also may have skills and strengths you never thought were possible, and they will never fail to surprise you.
A friend of mine has a three-year-old who is so accident prone she falls over when standing still, yet she can help bake and decorate cupcakes with an incredible level of control!
Finding fun things to do with kids is really awesome for everyone involved, and when you spend even a little time doing this, you will feel less rushed in the rest of your life.
Let's take the stress and the mess out of play time. No time to get creative? No problem.
Nicole is a mum of two girls aged 5 and 3, made to order cook, cleaner, crafts organiser and family budget manager. In between cups of coffee, you will usually find her assisting a toddler with the toilet, cleaning food scraps off the floor and basically trying to keep her mini-me's alive. She knows all too well that if you don’t keep them busy they will find their own busy-ness, by doing something mischievous!