|This is a guest post by Zoe Toft. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
How do you come up with play ideas for your kids? And, perhaps even more importantly, how do your kids come up with play ideas for themselves?
During holiday periods I, like many parents, plan ahead for games and activities we will get up to – using blogs I love (perhaps ones I’ve recently discovered via the Raising Playful Tots Index) but I also want to give my kids the tools to plan and create for themselves, and a rich vein of inspiration for my two kids comes in the form of picture books I read to them. Although it doesn’t always happen (and even when it does, it can be weeks after we’ve read the book) often my kids will create their own games and activities inspired by what they’ve read and listened to.
Three great books we’ve recently enjoyed (with my hope that they’ll sow the seed of inspiration when the time comes) are all about what can be done when it seems like there’s nothing to do.
Perfect for toddlers, this simply illustrated book is full of the adventures a baby bear gets up to having bounced on his dad complaining that there’s nothing to do until Dad finally gives in. Using a twig to draw, baby bear and his dad create places to explore, with no set agenda, just following the lines they make with their sticks.
Stunningly illustrated with immense detail this book is a delight for slightly older children. Nothing to Do celebrates how wonderful it can be to actually have nothing to do; instead of needing to rush to this activity or onto another class, instead of always being timetabled, days where there is nothing to do are actually something to be relished. Such days are full of endless, exciting possibilities – as you and your kids pour over the glorious illustrations you’ll all come up with ideas of your own, from making toy ships to watching clouds, from making paper airplanes to re-reading your favourite books.
Let’s do nothing by Tony Fucile
A great all-rounder this book will have everyone in the family laughing! Two young boys have done everything they can think of doing and all that is left to try now is – quite literally – doing nothing. It turns out, however, that doing nothing is much harder than anyone had realised! The comic strip style illustrations are full of energy and there are jokes for the adults as well as the kids in this pacey debut from one of the animators behind Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.
One of my stock go-to activities if we seem to have run out of anything to do is to put on some music and just dance with the kids. Here are some great songs that go wonderfully with these three fantastic books about doing nothing:
And if you do want to prepare some activities for your kids taking your cue from these books, here are some I think would work brilliantly alongside reading these stories:
Zoe Toft is a mum of two young girls and they really love words and they really love to make stuff.
Sometimes they make or do something and they want a good book (or poem / song / audiobook) that continues the game, that captures some of the magic we’ve enjoyed. Sometimes it’s the other way round and they read a great book which inspires them to get the glue and glitter out.
Either way, they’ve always got plenty of books around the house, boxes of “crafty stuff” and a desire to have fun. However, her memory is /terrible/ 🙂 So Playing by the book is Zoe’s way of celebrating and reminding herself of many of the things they get up to as a family, of the books they’ve read and loved and that you might just fall in love with too.