Little wins to help you get stuff done Little wins to help you get stuff done

8 Play ideas for you and the kids from Save the Children

We’re finally getting our lives back – albeit in a changed world. A more unfair world for children. Because in the last 18 months, millions have fallen behind with their learning, or have been locked out of school altogether. Not only that, they have missed out on one of the most important parts of childhood – play. Sure, playing means letting go; losing yourself and laughing your head off. But for children, it’s surprisingly serious, too.

Through play, kids learn. They explore the world around them, do better at school, make friends and feel good. And when has that ever been more important? That’s why, with Save the Children, we’re raising awareness about just how important play is for their development and we’ve pulled together a list of 8 fun play ideas to keep the kids busy this Autumn. We’re on hand to help make the most of family time at the weekends and half-term and pack in as much fun as possible, even when it’s chucking it down!

Try some of the fun ideas below and if you’re able to, you can donate here and help children in the UK get the food and home essentials they need so they can get on with the serious business of playing.

  • Save the children
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  •  7min read
8 Play ideas for you and the kids from Save the Children

Play ideas

Want to make up for all those lost lockdown moments and keep the kids busy on rainy days? Here are eight ways to get playing

Classic indoor games

  1. Write a story together about an important event in your family’s history. You can use a notebook, illustrate it and add future stories to create a family library. Maybe it's about when a sibling arrived or when you moved into your house.
  2. Box clever with cardboard crafts. Kids have the most fun with a pile of random cardboard boxes – plus some strong tape, felt tips and safety scissors. Space rockets, boats, bridges, trains, teddy hospitals, castles, smugglers’ caves… the sky’s the limit!
  3. Make your own stress ball by filling balloons with dry lentils or rice. Take the ball in one or both hands and squeeze and release. Experiment with squeezing the ball. Find a way that is right for you, adjusting the speed, pressure, and timing of your squeezes to whatever way you like.
Childrens CraftImage credit: Save the Children.

Out and about

  1. We know how hard it is to fit play into a busy weekend when you have lots to do, so try these play ideas... Doing a shop? Play bingo! Simply create a grid of nine squares and write an item (or brands for older kids) in each box. Give them a marker and let them cross off everything they see until they shout BINGO!
  2. Got lots of appointments or waiting around? Do a Pop Quiz on their surroundings. E.g. How many people are in front of us? Guess how long it will take to be our turn? What’s your favourite thing in this room?
  3. Got a long car journey? Play Car Reg Titles. Simply take the letters at the end of the number plate and ask them to create a film title with it. So, PJ52 RLB could be, Rocket Launch Battle. Another fun thing is to practise pronouncing the letters as a word – very silly sounding!
Muddy bootsImage credit: Save the Children.

With friends

  1. Party Hosts is a great simple game for three or more people. One person is the party host and stays in the room while the ‘guests’ stand outside and each assign each other a character. This could be general – like a superhero, or it could be a character from TV or film like Bart Simpson. They knock on the door and enter the party and have to act like that character. The party host has to guess who they are meant to be and then they switch turns at hosting.
  2. It's not too far off panto season, so why not have the kids put on their own! Get some old clothes and fancy dress and task them with writing a play. You could help by giving them some characters or an opening line like, ‘It was a grey and rainy day when Sally arrived at her great-uncle’s castle and she wondered what this holiday had in store…’ They can work as a team and assign roles to plan and create a script and then act and direct before revealing the final show to you.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the best play time you have. You can find even more activity and play ideas here in Save the Children’s Den. Have fun and let’s get playing!