It's winter or autumn and it's osselich outside. You've spent the whole day indoors. Or you've been outside, but your child is still full of energy, running around aimlessly or bouncing loudly on the sofa. You've run out of ideas. He's still full of energy and only exercise or sensory activities get his interest and attention. You would love to take him to the playground, to slide, swing or jump. But out there it's gray and rainy or dark, wet and cold. You want to avoid the "lazy babysitter" by turning on the TV or soothing your child with an iPad. But you want him to calm down, to stop running or whining, and to engage in interactive play. So what can you do?

I want to show you a simple solution that results in quality physical and interactive play, is easy to set up and store, costs very little, and gives you endless opportunities to have fun with your child. It will help you

  1. Emotionally entice your child into fun physical and interactive games, because they will need your help to "make it work."
  2. Playing fun movement games with your child that will keep him coming back to you
  3. Promote meaningful communication, as "active doing" supports language development and thinking
  4. Provide opportunities for complex social problem solving, motor planning, and sequencing
  5. To stimulate together new ideas and imaginative games that are regulatory and sensory or symbolic so-do-as-if games.
  6. to experience something that he can talk about, that he can tell dad or grandma. Maybe later together you can draw a picture that he can use to show the next rainy day that he wants to repeat those games

What is it? And where can you get it?

It is a board or a long piece of wood. Is there perhaps a board that can be temporarily freed from its function as a shelf? You can also buy a board or long piece of wood at your local hardware or home improvement store.

Add a few sofa cushions or pillows, a few books or bricks, and your board is ready for your indoor gym and will be

  • A slide
  • a balance beam
  • A rocker
  • a "river" to jump over
  • a bridge on which cars or a train can run
  • a house or tent when placed over the seats of 2 chairs and a sheet is draped over them
  • etc.

The ideal dimensions are 150 cm long and 30 cm wide, and, of course, it must be completely smooth, without sharp corners and edges. May need cushions or pads on the floor.

After your child uses up his pent-up energy sliding and having fun with simple physical activity, he will be tired, satisfied and much calmer. And then you'll both be ready to sit down for some welcome quiet time.


Cover image from: Entertaining and Educating your Pre-school Child - An Usborne Guide 1993.


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