I want to share with you an incredible exercise I discovered years ago about playing with kids in a fantasy world you can create for them where everyone can enjoy playing together.
I know that it is very important to spend quality time with our kiddos. But sometimes playing with them can be a challenge because of our busy schedule, our tiredness, or simply because we do not know how.
The Scouting Method
My husband was a boy scout when a child, and later as an adult, he served as a scout leader in a local group. And he invited me to join the girls’ scout club as a cub leader as well. It was an incredible experience for almost seven years.
In my point of view, it built a good foundation for motherhood. I began to understand childhood a little bit better since I learned so much thanks to all the other leaders at that time, books, and existing documentation about scouting, education, and discipline.
“The Scout Movement is a worldwide youth movement employing theIr method that is a program of informal education with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, empowering for a constructive place in society as responsible citizens, and as members of their communities.” *
Scouting divides personal growth into these areas: physical, character, social, nature, creativity, spiritual, and social. During a “fantasy world” program, we cover these areas with a full range of skills, principles, knowledge, and attitudes.
The Fantasy World
I developed tens of programs for girls under seven based on fantasy and historical stories like Egyptian culture, Disney movies, space, pirates, the sea world, princesses, robots, the zoo, and more.
Now, my husband and I as parents implement this process with our two girls. But we don’t spend much time planning. We prefer to keep it simple. We try to find a purpose for some of the activities we do together like playing with them such as completing chores or visiting places like the park, the museum, or the movies.
By adding a little bit of creativity and imagination, we use music, costumes, clothes, or any other materials we find in our house to create a magic world.
Here are some examples of programs with simple activities:
Fantasy: “Going to the Car Wash.”
Growth area and Objective: Physical, and character. Teach them to clean their toys while spending outside time during the summer.
Activity: Wash bikes, strollers, scooters, and toys.
Material: Soap, sponges, water bucket. Play music!
Fantasy: “Traveling to space.”
Growth area and Objective: Character, and creativity. Improve kids’ confidence by doing an activity without one of their senses by solving challenges.
Activity 1: Create a spectacular spacecraft.
Material: The big cardboard box from the last Amazon shopping, crayons, markets, or material for decoration.
Activity 2: Walk through the backyard or an open area with covered eyes following a magic line from the spacecraft to the moon. Mark two or more points with easy obstacles between, like passing an airstream, crawling, or mud.
Material: Fabric to cover eyes, string, or weight for marking lines between two or more points, obstacles, and decoration for the space setting.
Fantasy: “Pirates discover a new island.”
Growth area and Objective: Nature, and spiritual. Camping to learn about this new place, and be grateful for what we have at home (electricity, tv, wifi, warm bed). Being outdoors is helpful to appreciate the value of common things.
Activity 1:Pirates must discover new plants and animals in a region to learn about them with books or adults’ help.
Activity 2: Enlist all the things we miss being away from home, being grateful for that, and talk about sharing a little bit of that with people that don’t have.
Activity 3: Cooking something new using limited tools, and ingredients.
Material: Camping stuff.
Please be careful when implementing activities, kids safety is super important, always be sure about your kid’s capabilities. There are many resources you can review for more kids’ activities guides like books, and blogs.
Playing with kids is a great way to get to know each kid through their feelings, thoughts, and fears. Then we can set goals based on their own needs and work on those passively through this type of program. Additionally, this is an opportunity to strengthen our relationships through confidence, patience, and love.