In 100 years of creating, educating and innovating, Boston Children's Museum has encouraged children and families to play together at the Museum, at home and out in the world in more ways than we can count. Every day, there are a wealth of opportunities for adults and their children to play and grow together. We have chosen 100 of our favorites, in honor of our 100th anniversary and we share them with you here. See how many of these 100 Ways to Play you can try together this year!
After it rains, take off your shoes and stomp and splash together in the puddles that the storm left behind.
Paint a moustache on your face and negotiate a business deal with your parents.
While waiting for your food to arrive at a restaurant, make an accordion with your straw wrapper.
Make snow angels.
Put on a play based on your favorite story.
Find an ordinary (or extraordinary) object and look at it closely: examine every detail, describe what it smells like, what it feels like (are there different textures to it?); if you have a magnifying glass see if that shows new details you hadn’t noticed. Even familiar objects start to take on new characteristics when they are explored close-up.
In the car, look for the letters A to Z, in order, on signs, license plates or billboards.
While you are waiting for a bus, try to find shapes in the environment around you (squares, triangles, circles); or anything red, blue or green…practice those powers of observation!
Find random objects around the house that have at least one thing in common; see if someone can guess what connects them. Then, have the person that guessed find their own objects to challenge you with.
Plant some seeds from a fruit you ate and watch them grow. Try tomatoes or avocados especially.
On a long car ride, look for license plates from every state.
Round up single socks to put on a puppet show.
Fill spray bottles with water and some food coloring and paint the snow.
Have a parade at home with any drums or shakers you may have…or make your own instruments with pots, pans, wooden spoons, etc. March around the house singing songs you love and keeping the beat with your instruments!
Build a pillow fort and defend it from your stuffed animals.
Create a drawing using only the letters in your name.
Spin around and around on the grass until you fall down, then watch the world swirl around you.
See how many sounds you can make with objects in your kitchen.
Dig a hole in your yard and see what you find.
Make a snow globe – glue an object to the inside top of a baby food jar, add water and glitter to the jar and close it up. You can glue the lid to the jar or use “thread tape” to help keep it from leaking. Try mineral or baby oil instead of water – does the glitter “snow” fall differently? Click here for some tips (http://www.beyondthechalkboard.com/activities/snow-globes/).
Tie your socks together (while you’re wearing them) and have a race.
While you wait in line, make up stories about the other people in line. Are they spies on a secret mission? Are they here to surprise the cashier? This is especially fun while waiting at the airport, train station or bus stop.
Take a song you know and make up new words.
Invent your own card game.
Read together; change the storyline or ending of a familiar book/story to see who notices first what you changed.
Build structures using straws and pipe cleaners or paper clips to connect them together.
Make crazy hats out of paper, paper grocery bags or fabric.
Practice pouring – give your young child a small plastic pitcher and a few plastic cups in the bathtub and ask them to fill the cups with the pitcher…then ask them to fill the pitcher with the cups! Experiment with different sized cups.
Go for a walk and walk each block like a different zoo animal.
Make paddles from wire hangers (to form the frame) and panty hose over that and use them to bat balloons around.
Make mud pies.
Build card houses.
Grab a variety of fruits and vegetable, predict which ones will sink and which will float, then toss them in a sink or bin full of water and find out!
When you are waiting in line anywhere, ask your child to estimate how many people are in line in front of you, and then count them. Try again with how many people are behind you. Then estimate how long it will take to get through the line. For more simple math games, check out this website (http://mixinginmath.terc.edu/).
Dance around with scarves in your hands.
Make homemade instruments and start a band.
Go on a 10 minute walk around your neighborhood and find things that start with the letter “S”. Then try a new letter.
Have a “serious contest”: stare at each other, and try not to smile or laugh.
Play broom ball – brooms + any size rubber ball = hours of fun.