Imaginative play is a child’s way of responding to their world.
As you explore through imaginative play, you may see anxieties surface in their play about what’s happening in the world. If you do, don’t worry—play is their way of processing what’s happening around them, and it’s natural and healthy for uncertainties over current events to come out in this way.
Take this as a great opportunity to talk to them about what’s going on and ease their worries. Join in! Become the comforting nurse, the scientist working out solutions, or even just the loving family offering a hug and reassurance.
Here are some activities you can do at home that help develop all the skills we try to build at Champions:
Character development and community
Play a role-playing game as a family—improv style.
Say a role for everyone to play (or even better, pull a role randomly out of a hat). Then create a scenario to face together. For example: “A scientist, a basketball coach, and a circus clown are all helping a neighbor weed their garden. Go!” Don’t think about it or use any props, just jump in and start acting!
Read together as a family!
Talk about the different scenes in the story, the little moments that gave you each an image in your mind about what the characters were doing and how they were feeling and behaving. Have your family work together to act out one of the scenes, without doing any planning or talking ahead of time about who will play which roles. Just start acting and see where it takes you.
Language and literacy
Use one of the story starters below to tell a progressive story.
In a progressive story, one family member says or writes a sentence and then passes the storytelling role to another family member. Each family member adds one sentence at a time to the story. The story should have a natural flow from beginning to end, and the family member who started the story should bring it to an end.
Here are some story starters we like:
- I was about to go to sleep, but when I got into bed I saw …
- I was walking in our neighborhood one day when suddenly I saw a giant …
- I was hiking in the forest, when all of a sudden I heard …
- We thought we were going to have a nice, quiet family dinner, but then …
Try your hand at some tantalizing tongue twisters!
Encourage your child to try them all and decide which were your favorite or most challenging. Here are a few to get you started. After trying these, encourage them to write their own tongue twisters for you to try!
- The big black bug bit the big black bear, but the big black bear bit the big black bug back!
- Six sleek swans swam swiftly southwards.
- He threw three free throws.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Memory and focus
Challenge your child to a mirroring game.
Stand facing each other. Make expressions, movements, and sounds while your child does everything you do at the same time. The slower you move, the better! The goal is to appear to be one person looking in a mirror. After a few minutes switch roles and have them lead.
Test your memory!
Prepare a tray with 10 themed items, such as home office supplies or items your kids play with in the bathtub. Give them 30 seconds to study the tray and try to memorize the items, then cover them with a towel. Have them wait exactly 30 seconds to see how many of the 10 items they can recall. Change the number of items or the amount of study time to increase or decrease the challenge.
Partner up with your child to create a collaborative illustration.
The fun part is, you can’t discuss the illustration that’s unfolding until you’ve both agreed it is complete! Take turns drawing, each of you adding a line, shape, or color to an area. Get the whole family involved!
Gather building materials such as LEGO® bricks, K’Nex®, or other types of blocks.
Cut some paper into small strips and write a noun on each strip like pizza, fish, tree, flower, bus, spider, mailbox, giraffe … you get the idea! Put the paper strips in a hat, stir them up, and have your child choose one. Choose one for yourself, too, but don’t tell each other what your paper says. Set a timer for two minutes and start building the object you picked. After two minutes, show each other what you built and try to guess what it is.
Select three of the paper strips from the previous activity. Read them aloud and encourage your child to write a story or draw a picture that incorporates all three of the objects.
Play the game “Walk This Way” for some fun with the whole family.
Have your child walk 10 steps in one direction and then return to where they started. Then, call out an environment, terrain, or substance for your child to pretend to walk through, again taking 10 steps and returning to start. Examples include snow, mud, ice, burning coals, warm water, honey, or jelly. Have family members take turns being the walker and the caller.
Share with your child that the most important tip for improvisation in acting is to agree with whatever someone has already said. This keeps the improvised scene going in a positive direction. Take turns agreeing with one another in a game of “Yes, and …” For each statement you or your child make, the next person follows by saying “Yes, and …” to complete the sentence. For example, you might say: “It looks like it’s about to rain outside.” They might respond: “Yes, and the clouds are made of fluffy, white pillows.” Then you say, “Yes, and the raindrops are all different colors.” This game can go on and on for as long as you’d like! (And you may even have them saying “Yes, and …” a little more often when it comes to daily tasks!)
If you’ve got younger children in the house, we’ve got ideas for them too! Read about them here.