So much of parenting is spent telling your child what to do and flitting from chore to chore, making sure she eats, gets dressed, brushes her teeth and goes to bed on time. Not to mention the driving time it takes to shuttle her from place to place! With such little time left for fun, interactive games are just what you and your 5-year-old need. You'll have a blast playing together, and as an added bonus, your child will learn something new.
Book Scavenger Hunt
Collect a stack of your 5-year-old's favorite books and challenge him to a book scavenger hunt. Let him choose what book he wants to read first and ask him to find items in the pictures, such as animals, clothing and outdoor objects. If he can identify letters, encourage him to point to certain letters of the alphabet. As he gets older, he might be able to point out words. Now switch roles and let your child tell you what to find. He'll have a blast bossing you around for a change.
Gather several objects, such as toys, colored socks or cut-out paper shapes. Ask your child to leave the room and then hide the objects in various places. Don't try to trick your child by hiding them in hard spots though, or she's likely to lose interest. Call her back into the room and give her clues, such as look under the pillow or hunt near the bookshelf. Repeat the game several times, and let your 5-year-old have a couple turns to hide the objects for you to find. Just don't hide your child's lovey or security blanket, because you can imagine the bedtime battle that will take place if it gets left behind in all of the hiding and seeking.
Fill six to 10 soda or juice bottles partway with dried rice or beans. Don't fill them up all the way though or your child won't be able to knock them down. Set the bottles up in a bowling pin formation and give your child a rubber ball. Encourage him to roll the ball as hard as he can to tip all of the pins over. Take turns trying to knock all of the bottles over. You'll probably be stuck setting the bottles up every time, but you'll enjoy spending time with your 5-year-old, and he'll improve his gross motor skills, too.
Take your child outside and spend some time playing more active games. Use sidewalk chalk and draw a huge tic-tac-toe board on your driveway. Play a few rounds with your 5-year-old. Deep inside, many parents still want to win every game, but let your child win a few too so she doesn't get discouraged, which will ruin everyone's fun. Draw a hopscotch pattern for another interactive game that's also good exercise for both of you. A quick game of tag, hide-and-seek or follow the leader are entertaining, too.
- PBS Parents: Reading Acitivities at Home
- Great Big Book of Children's Games; Debra Wise
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images