Parents know how it goes: we buy a ton of toys for our kids, marvel at their excitement as they open the first two or three, and then suffer from buyer's remorse as we watch them spend more time playing with the wrapping paper and boxes than with the toys. Young children are experts of pretend play, requiring few or no supplies, the majority of which are already in the house. Rather than flooding your house with more plastic hoozeewats, give your kids the gift that keeps on giving by proposing one of these 5 fantastic creative games for kids and toddlers:
1. Strut Your Stuff!
If you have a wardrobe full of clothes or, even better, boxes full of costumes, you're ready to let your child loose and play the ultimate dress-up game with scarves, hats, dresses, and high heels. Make a "runway" for them to walk down—a hallway works well—and let them show off their outfits while you play music. If you want to take this game to the next level, grab some markers, glitter glue, and stickers and have your kids bring new life to an old pair of your jeans.
2. Treasure Hunt
Know how our kids can't seem to find anything and rely on us to assist them track down that one small red car that suddenly means everything to them? Instead of allowing it to frustrate you, turn it into a game by giving them a list of scavenger objects to discover and a little prize—a piece of candy will motivate them to try even harder—if they can find everything on the list.
3. Just Dance!
Dim the lights, crank up the music, and tell your kid you're going to have the best dance party your home has ever seen. All you have to do is make a song list ahead of time, making sure it includes a mix of fast and slow songs (so you don't tire your youngster out in five minutes), and then sit back and watch them practice their skills on your living room rug.
4. License Plate Bingo Game
License Plate Bingo requires the most planning from a parent of all the games on our list, but it's well worth it when you're going on a long car ride with little children. Print a "Bingo" sheet and that includes photographs of various license plates from across the country on it before your trip. Then explain the rules of Bingo to your kids and advise them to keep an eye out for license plates that match the ones on their page on the road. Make sure to give the winners a tiny candy or sticker prize. When you have bigger kids in the car to assist your younger one, this game works best.
5. The Stage is Yours!
Do you have a book-loving kiddo? Show them how to stage a play based on a story they enjoy. Offer a bag of household "props" like dishrags, plastic spoons, and mugs to assist them. You'll be astounded at how they're put to use! They'll be directing their own original theatre show before you know it.