4 easy ways to connect with your kids. All you need is crayons or markers and some blank paper. You’ll be amazed at what just 5 minutes of undivided attention will do for your sweet kiddoes:
Tonight at dinner, I decided to draw a rainbow slide that landed into a cloud. (I think all my years of watching Care Bears as a kid is finally catching up with me?)
Then I passed the drawing on to my oldest and said, “Your turn. Add whatever you want!” She added marshmallow castles!
Then the youngest got her turn. She added amazing happy swirl AND loads of color.
We got another sheet of paper out and the youngest drew a fantastic waterslide, sunshine and an ocean. Then my oldest drew an inviting cabana. I added a palm tree, just because.
This was a good excercise because when we start a drawing, we have an idea of how it will turn out. But if you release that vision and pass it on, you have to learn to ride the waves and let go of some (or all) control.
I often teach my girls that the only person they can control is themselves. And this is a fun, lighthearted way of learning the joy and surprise of collaboration.
Our play therapist asked the girls to get some colors and blank paper. Then she asked them to draw a circle and use a color code for different emotions. They then use the colors to fill in how they are feeling.
This can look more like a pie chart or a bunch of bubbles inside the circle. There could be a lot of thought that goes into which one and why and how much. Or it could just be free-form. Give the child a lot of freedom with how they color in the circle. I wouldn’t show them this image. Just let their own minds do the thinking.
This is good for us adults too. Do this as a family some night.
It’s an easy discussion starter… What’s making you feel that way? Is anything triggering that emotion? What are you happy about? Who are you missing?
Chase-You with Crayons!
Our other play therapist taught us this one! It’s a fun activity that requires no brain power, some quick action, and helps you connect with your kids. Sometimes imaginative play is hard for an exhausted parent to engage in. But this! You can do this!
Just get a blank sheet of paper. You and your child each hold a pen. The one rule is that you don’t let your crayon or marker lift off the paper. One person is it and runs his marker all around in squiggles or zig-zags. The other player tries to follow after and get their marker to tag the other player’s marker. It’s basically like a game of tag. (We call tag, “chase-you”!)
This great for when your child has some energy and you have none. It’s super fun, engaging and a great activity for a child needing quality time. It also teaches kindness and humility. Bonus!
Squiggles and Giggles!
I love this game. We do this a lot when we have to sit in a waiting room somewhere. Lately, we picked it up again.
Simply draw a squiggle. Then give the pen to your child (or spouse!) and say, “Turn it into something.”
Then, after they transform your squiggle into something cool, laugh! Now it’s their turn. They get to squiggle and you get to turn it into something cool.
I am constantly amazed at what my kids come up with! I never see it coming, and we always marvel …and then laugh.
You can also do this with chalk outside on a bigger scale. Hello, sunshine!
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What are the easy, silly ways you like to connect with your kiddoes? Drop a comment below and let me know!