Indoor Play

Illustration of a TVIt seems so much easier on yet another wet and miserable day to switch on the telly or put on a video. But there are lots of fantastic ways for children to play at indoors.

Playful Atmosphere

The National Play Policy recommends creating a playful atmosphere at home. A section of the classroom can also be set aside for indoor play on rainy days. This doesn’t mean buying lots of expensive toys. Commercial toys can actually limit a child’s scope for play. Part of the magic of play is the fun children have pretending. If there is very little space just move the furniture around a bit or better still, let the furniture be integrated into the game.

A few props, maybe some safe kitchen utensils and a couple of old sheets wrapped around the children can lead to quite elaborate imaginary games. Particularly useful are the old bits and pieces we tend to throw out such as boxes, big and small, broken radios or cd players or old mobile phones. Even something as mundane as the cardboard tube you’re left with when the tin foil or kitchen paper runs out can take on a whole new life as a pirates telescope, a trumpet or just about anything once a child’s imagination is ignited.

“I’m bored”

Photo of a little girl emptying out a box of multicoloured magnetic lettersSometimes they just need a hand to get started and a simple suggestion can lead to the most fascinating complex play. If the game is descending into an argument or boredom, another prop or suggestion can kick start things back to life again. Time is crucial for children’s play.  Give them lots of time and all the encouragement they need.

Play Ideas

Parenting courses for parents of younger children and in-service training for teachers and carers often look at the importance of play and provide good play ideas. Check with local schools, pre-schools, in your library or contact Barnardos for a list of courses in your area. You can also try the Creative Kids at Home website for play materials.

Play Centre

Photo of a little boy looking at a bookA good source of information is your local library. Many libraries have a weekly children’s story time. If they don’t, most libraries encourage children to read with parents or minders and many have paper and crayons or pencils for drawing. Some of the bigger Museums and Art Galleries have areas set aside with art materials where children can play and some organise weekly art workshops. There are also commercial play centres which charge an entrance fee. You can try your local tourist information centre or the Yellow Pages for to find somewhere nice to take the kids to play inside.