Dana's My Coach

Find your game… play… repeat.

Sweet Connections Come Through Play…Here’s How…Top 5 Tips

“So much of the loneliness of modern life comes because we no longer witness each other,” says Julia Cameron, writer of “The Artist’s Way.

It’s true.

Time whizzes by at such speed and velocity we become nothing more than a blur to each other.

Our home is meant to be a harbor where we CAN be seen, and accepted. But often home and family life bring conflict and stress, instead of respite and protection. During a holiday or a ‘snowed-in’ day, the stress can intensify.

Play brings a sweet connection to transform stress. Gentle competition brings motion rather than emotion to a particularly prickly relationship. Criticism and judgement give way to encouragement and victory cries in the heat of a game. Staticky tension gives way to a harmonious hum when humans engage in fun activities with a specific goal.

Because I want you to have even more enjoyment with your loved ones, below I have compiled a list of ways to play with your family. If you don’t live with your family, you can play with your roommates (or dog?)

Please take a look at the suggestions and propose to try one or two with your loved ones. You can even print them out and pass them around! Start a new family/holiday tradition! Bring the gift of play to yourself and your loved ones. And please write me back and let me know what you had fun with. If you have your own ‘play’ traditions, you know I want to hear about them!!

Top 5 Ways for Families to Play Together on a Holiday or ‘Snowed-In’ Day

In-home Scavenger Hunt! Get everyone moving by setting up an indoor scavenger hunt! Create a theme for the scavenger hunt (ie. animals, the senses or action heros…) All that’s required are a few items, some clever hiding places, and you and your family member’s sense of imagination and adventure. They will be delighted to play a game with you, and even more excited to find all of the fun surprises.

Commercial break challenges! Your family members may insist on watching their favorite TV shows, but that doesn’t mean they need to be on the couch the whole time! Each commercial break, challenge your family to practice a move. It could be a simple hop, gallop, or if they are brave enough, maybe even a monkey jump! This will help reinforce an active home.

Charades! There are many variations of charades. The simplest (simple works well if there are young kids in the mix!) is to divide into two teams and one person from each team takes a turn acting out a title of a song, movie, tv show, or favorite scene from one of the above. Their team has 3 minutes to guess it and if they do they get a point, if they don’t the other team can guess it and if they do they get a point.

Fit-Opoly! This game is created by Fitness Instructor, Melanie Goss, and all that is required is a piece of paper or cardboard, dice and markers for each player. Draw squares on the paper and in each square write a movement, exercise or dance move (ie. hop on one foot, or do the macarena..) To start, one player rolls the dice, moves their marker past the number on the dice, read the activity on the square where the marker lands. Then everyone does the activity together for a specific amount of time. Markers move around the board and game continues until all the markers have gone around. You may continue after that if you want.

Create a Family Crest! Imagine back in the Middle Ages when royal families had an emblem signifying a family business or code or profession. Create this together with everyone giving input. The actual crest can be created in a number of ways, either everyone agrees on the drawing and one person draws it. Or, everyone creates a proposed drawing and then votes to see which one will be ‘the’ emblem. Or, everyone can take one section of the shield and draw whatever they want.

Other suggestions:

take a family walk,

play a board game,

sing karaoke,

share in the kitchen jobs,

learn a skill together (ie. take a drawing class, practice speaking Italian, try a new recipe…),

listen to an audio story together

One response to “Sweet Connections Come Through Play…Here’s How…Top 5 Tips

  1. Vincent March 5, 2014 at 1:57 am

    They’re some really great ideas Dana.
    I particularly liked the ‘Commercial break challenges!’.
    Great article and very practical.

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