Your home is your child’s first and most familiar play space. When they are young, your child will usually enjoy repeating the same types of play. This is important for their development, and it’s easy to do at home.

Playing at home helps your child feel safe, secure and happy. If you have recently moved or are away from home, having familiar things to play with can help your child settle in.

Here are some fun, easy play ideas your child can enjoy at home.

Bathtime

Showers and baths are the perfect time to play with water. Splashing and playing with bubbles is fun.

You can make bathtime even more fun with:

  • things from the kitchen – like sieves, ladles and cups
  • things that float and things that sink
  • songs
  • straws for blowing bubbles.

Playing in water is also a great opportunity for your child to explore their senses. For example:

  • smelling bath oil and soap
  • feeling the texture of sponges and bubbles
  • feeling the warmth of the water on their skin
  • feeling cosy wrapped up in a big towel
  • listening to drips and splashes.

You should always supervise young children when they are in the bath.

Houshold tasks

Your child can have a lot of fun joining in with household tasks. Your child will often want to do things they have seen you doing. You may need to be extra patient, as household tasks might take longer or be a bit messier when your child is involved.

You can think of household tasks as opportunities for playful learning – for example:

  • washing up (make sure you remove sharp and easily broken items if your child is young)
  • cleaning windows with buckets of soapy water
  • sweeping up or hoovering floors
  • polishing things like door handles or pots and pans.

Some children really enjoy a competitive element – like ‘who can polish the most spoons in five minutes?’ But other children may find this stressful. You’ll be able to judge whether your child enjoys some competition.

Meal times

Meal times are a great opportunity to spend time together. Putting screens and phones away during meal times helps you and your child enjoy your food and concentrate on your time together. Meal times are great for:

  • chatting about the day
  • planning your next play adventure together
  • telling stories
  • starting conversations about interesting or funny topics
  • playing simple games like ‘I spy’ or memory games like ‘I went to the market and bought a...’ (each person in turn has to add something to a list of what was bought and repeat what the previous people had said, trying to remember everything as the list gets longer and longer).

Waking up early

Here are a few ideas that might help when your child wakes up early in the morning ready to play.

  • Set up a cosy area with a picnic blanket and some soft toys or teddy bears so they can play quietly nearby.
  • Let them snuggle in bed with you.
  • If you aren’t ready to play yet, say so.
  • Keep the lights dim.
  • Avoid gadgets and screens.
  • Have some favourite books nearby to read together.
  • Go out for an early morning walk.

You can find more ideas for playing around the house on our pages about dens and messy play