Playing together as a family helps build and strengthen family bonds and establishes memories in the making, in addition to providing opportunities for parents and children to do something enjoyable and fun with each other. One of the benefits for young children is knowing that their family is interested in spending time with them. What a confidence booster! Just about any time can be playtime, and for young children especially, routine and familiar activities are a great place to start.
One of the benefits of family play is the development of social and language skills. Young children usually begin imaginative play by imitating what they've seen and experienced. Their play themes often revolve around family happenings and events. Parents can initiate or extend family playtimes by encouraging conversations and discussions about shared experiences. Using toys and playsets based on familiar themes for preschoolers, such as a farm, a garage, or a kitchen, provide wonderful opportunities for family interactions and involvement. Playing together with such toys is one of the best ways to spend quality time as a family. It's fun for all involved!
Following are some tips for getting the most out of playing with your child:
Take advantage of the chance to play and have fun with your child—it's a golden opportunity you won't want to miss.
Sometimes, just sit back and observe your child at play—observation provides hints to the next stage of development.
Follow your child's cues—be creative and resourceful when playing together.
Choose toys that are fun for your child and fun for you, too!
Allow enough time for family play. Children develop best in an environment which allows them time to explore, discover and play.
Most of all, cherish this time together and really enjoy yourselves.
And, best of all, remember that the benefits of family play last a lifetime!
Kathleen Alfano Ph.D., Former Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price®
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.