Just Go and Play

“Will you just go and play!”

I catch myself saying this when my young children are hanging off my legs.  Sometimes a child doesn’t know where to start when it comes to play. When this happens, a little effort in terms of set-up, goes a long way.

To be honest, I often don’t want to take the time to instigate play for my children, let alone sit down and play with them.  I’m just too busy; I’ve got too much to do; I don’t feel like it.  However, what I find is, when I take the time out to be with my children this is what happens:

1. I actually enjoy it!

2. The children play happily and independently for longer periods.


Tips for setting up toys:

1. Try setting up somewhere different. For example, a table, outdoors, in a different room or on a bright coloured picnic mat.

2. Spend 5 minutes with your child/ren before leaving them play (this may be a little tricky if you only have one child but it’s good for a child to play independently so work towards it as a goal).

3. Leave the toys set up.  I know it’s good to “pack things away after we have finished with it” but when I take the time to set up toys for the children, they tend to play with it, on and off, throughout the day.

4. Pull out toys your children haven’t played with for a while.



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  • Reply
    Miss Carly
    April 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    This is a fantastic post! I love it. Great picture too!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks Miss Carly! x
      You are obviously passionate about young children. It’s a gift!

  • Reply
    Busy Brissy Mum
    April 27, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    It really does become something that is enjoyable for everyone….including mum. Thanks for the encouragement Kelly.

    Amanda x
    (Busy Brissy Mum)

  • Reply
    Christie - Childhood 101
    April 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I love how all the animals are lined up, I take it that the children did that? You are so right, taking time to set up a fun, attractive play environment can definitely engage children in longer periods of play. I too do the ‘play for five minutes then excuse myself’ thing, it works well with Immy, even as an only child.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      Yes they did line them up. Cute hey!? Christie, I’m so glad you mentioned about you doing the same with an only child. That’s really good to know.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Great tips. My boys love it when I let them leave their toys out so they can continue their game in the morning. I have split my lounge so there is an area between the couch & TV that is toy free after they go to bed – behind the couch is where they can leave their toys out – this way I don’t step on lego creations by accident!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      Ah yes, lego HURTS!! But it’s such a wonderful, creative product. Great idea splitting the area. I can see that working a treat!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I am so relieved to see a lot of lining up going on at the table..I was beginning to wonder if it was an only child thing. My 3 year old is quite the fan of lining anything and everything around the lounge room.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 27, 2010 at 5:56 pm

      Hi Jade

      LOL well, your 3-year-old is in good company. My 4-year-old, who did the lining up, is a third child so it’s not a only a first child (or only child) thing.

      Does your child use role play too?

      The only worry is if a child only lines toys up and dosen’t ever ‘play’ with them. In that case, it may be a good idea to see an Occupational Therapist.

      Lining toys up in itself isn’t a problem at all. 😀

  • Reply
    Kathryn Rodda
    April 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    a great reminder. With 3 boys under 4 there is so much washing, ironing, folding, cooking, cleaning to do that I often don’t sit down with them unless we are doing art. Will definately put more effort in

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

      Three boys under four! I bet they keep you on your toes. I had three girls under four; still crazy but not quite the same hey. I hear you! All the housework can really get in the way. The interesting thing is I don’t actually need to spend huge chunks of time in the end but it means so much to the children.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    This is the secret: just decide to take the time.

    this statement is priceless and I agree with you 100% we do have to take the time to setup interesting play suitations for our children

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 27, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      Thanks for visiting my blog Philippa. I’ll pop over to yours now and say hi!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    So true Kelly, a little initial effort on our part sets our children up for much better play time. I find with my daughter, we are just getting to the stage where she will play independently for more than a few minutes. Previously, she would just bring every toy over to me one by one, until I eventually scooped them up and went back to play with her again.

    It is also nice to see her starting to play more with her little brother (9 months), though he is very passive in the play at the moment (makes it much easier for big sister to “share”).

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

      It’s special to watch siblings play. Made me giggle the part about it being easy to share atm. Enjoy that while it lasts. lol

      It’s great when they start to play independently, on their own and with siblings.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I completely agree – I so often forget to just set something up, even though I know how much easier it makes my life.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! Having a reminder tonight is a good thing though because it is so easy to get caught up in the stuff of life and to forget how much fun it is to play 🙂

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 27, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      You are right… it is easy to forget. That’s part of the reason why I like writing it down because it MAKES me think about it. (I forget too easily sometimes)

      Heres to play 😀

  • Reply
    April 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    great tips…

    I always find if I take the time to set up the environment so there is something of interest to my kids and so that they can easily play independently they usually don’t need or want me to join in very much!

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