Many parents come to us asking how to play with their children effectively as well as juggling the different interests of multiple children.
Here are some tips on how to make play fun for everyone and is aimed at pre-school children.
Imaginative play: whether it be dressing up and having a tea party or playing with the small world characters in a dolls house or train track.
Creative and messy play: where children develop fine motor skills whilst cutting, sticking and painting, amongst other sensory stimulations.
Physical play: where they are increasing the full body movements and exerting all that energy.
Construction and problem solving whether it be in brick building, duplo or working out a threading card or puzzle.
Our play booklet has tips for all ages from 0-6 months through to 3 years plus. Click the button below to read.
You may find that your twins, triplets or more prefer different types of play and by identifying them you can provide activities that capture their different likes.
For example, a train track can be used in conjunction with construction bricks to make garages or sheds as well as a dolls house where the dolls visit the train station. This can work alongside creative activities where signs and posters can be made for the train station or dolls house.
Follow their lead
Children are the experts in play and it’s important, when engaging in their imaginary world, to let them take the lead. Children often revisit real life situations through play and so it can be beneficial to provide reassurance and solutions during the game.
For example, the child may be role playing a negative a doctor’s visit role play but you can make it positive in the game to try and dispel their fears. By engaging together through play, you are sharing more experiences and enhancing family bonds and relationships.
Spread your time fairly
Make sure you allow each child to have a turn at choosing the play. It is sometimes easy to always allow the more dominant child to dictate but is important for them to learn to take turns as well as the quieter sibling to gain confidence. You may find the one who hasn’t chosen doesn’t want to join in but once the play has started, they may change their mind. If this happens it’s important to integrate them into the game.It can be beneficial try and make time for each child individually, even it’s just a 5-minute story, the one on one time with you is extremely important.
Our play booklet has some tips on how this can be possible for families.
We appreciate that during the covid-19 pandemic this can be particularly hard without the help from friends or other family members. It is important to remember that we will get through this time, but we have to accept for the time being that this is our new normal. Also remembering that this won't be the norm forever. And in the meantime we have a list of support resources available to our families here.
When preparing for an activity make sure you have everything to hand before you start, from the equipment needed during the activity, to the clean-up equipment required after. This is especially good for messy play. If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of messy play you could do it in separate tray in their individual highchairs. It can limit mess but allows your twins/triplets to enjoy the sensory experience whilst still being able to interact with each other.
A lot of disagreements around play can be because the children haven’t got enough space and another child is ‘getting in the way’ or ‘messing up my game’. By checking a space before starting this can prevent frustration and hopefully enhances the experience.
For example, before starting a puzzle make sure the space is big enough for the finished puzzle and for the children to all get involved.
Keep it simpleChildren at this age are very happy to just have your attention and time so don’t get bogged down with complicated play ideas. Often the simplest ideas are the best. For example, a cooking activity can be as simple as getting the children to make their own sandwiches or pizza toppings (on a readymade base or tortilla wrap or bagel!)
Enjoy this amazing age of discovery and imagination.