30 Day Play Challenge - Week 1

Hands on : As We Grow and The Imagination Tree are hosting a 30 day hands on play challenge.  I was very excited about this idea in the beginning - my 5 year old daughter is always asking me to play.  The only thing is, I have to play her way.  And by her way, I mean I have to say what she says I can say and do exactly as she says.  Does that sound like fun to you?  Yeah, well I can honestly say that I have a tendency to avoid playing with her because of this.  Don't get me wrong, I love to be with her and do things with her - it's just that playing with her can be a challenge for me. 

 So I started off the challenge with optimism thinking she was going to love having me play with her every single day.  Well, I guess it's called a challenge for a reason.  It really has been a challenge in our home because I have lost my motivation to play some days because often times it has ended up with screaming and tears.  And so I have taken on some of the play challenges and not others.  Am I a wimp or what?  So today I will start off sharing my our first 7 days of the challenge.

Day one of the challenge was to create a mission statement of how I would like to become more hands on with my kids:

"My goal is to make new connections with my kids through playing with them.  I will do my best to let them lead playtime.  I hope to be able to learn more about what drives and interests them , which I hope will help me to be a better parent in the long run.  I hope to have some fun along the way, too!"

Day 2 - Build a fort

My girls love to make forts.  I was changing the sheets on my bed this day, but instead of taking them straight to the washing machine I draped them over some furniture in the room creating a tent.  I called Maisy in - she brought her Barbies and had them playing together up on the "patio" {that's what that first picture is with her back turned}. 

Then she began to think about the tent and tell me all about whose it was and what we were doing here.  Apparently the family that lived in this tent was on vacation and we were just house-sitting.  As usual, Maisy was the mother, I was the teenager, and Mina was the kid.

We had a bunch of fun playing and pretending together in our tent until it all came crashing down.

This is how it looked right before it crashed down - Maisy is out on the patio of the fort.  After it all came down - no worries, Maisy decided she would be a ghost.  Like I have mentioned before, she has had a recent obsession with E.T. - remember when E.T. was the ghost for Halloween?

Day 3 - Block play

I was excited about this day's challenge.  If there's one thing I can play well, it blocks.  Mina and Millie started building on their own.  Maisy made a castle with a magical grass gate and then brought in her shoebox dollhouse and her Lalaloopsy.

Mina started building a tower and naming off the colors - Maisy noticed that there was a pattern in the colors that we were building with.  Then Maisy began to build her larger than life tower.  We had to start it over again and again as it got so tall it began to wobble and fall - or a mischievous 2 year old sister came along and gave it a good whack.  We finally got it there though.

Before too long, Mina got a little bored with just building so she began to kick the blocks around the room and swish them around with her legs.  She even had to take a break and go to the table to draw.  She broke out a coloring book later on also, but I didn't catch that pic.  I was able to get her refocused on the blocks when I asked her to build something with just red blocks.

By the time Mina was done kicking, throwing, and swishing block all over the floor there was quite a large mess.  To make clean-up a little more fun, I brought in some tongs and we pretended they were claws to pick them up.  The girls really liked that for a while, but clean up was taking a little longer with this method.  To switch it up a bit, Maisy began to use her feet to pick up the blocks and put them back into the bucket.  I think this play session was successful!

Day 4 - Pretend Islands

I'm not sure how I lost my steam from the day before, but I did and we did not make pretend islands.  I gave this one minimal effort.  I can't say I didn't try at all - we were babysitting another girl this day and the three of them were playing with blankets on the floor having a blanky party.  They were having fun hopping on and rolling around on the blankets, but when I suggested we might turn them into island they just looked at me all funny and told me no.  I must have really interrupted the good time they were already having.  I don't think that this was necessarily a bad thing - they were having fun together on their own, can you really ask for anything better than that?

Day 5 - Play dough exploration

I really did want to do this one - I was caught a little off guard and didn't think I had any salt on hand to make a new batch of play dough {desperately needed}.  Then once I went to the store and bought some a couple days later and went to put it away, I found I had already bought extra and it was put away in such a clever spot.  Does that ever happen to you?  Actually, I made some new play dough up yesterday so I will have to share how we played with it very soon. 

But just because we didn't play with play dough this day doesn't mean I didn't play with them at all.  I did take some extra time this day to play outside in the snow.  We still had a good time - and a few tears too. 

Day 6 - Family Together Time

This time our family together time was spent attending a cousin's baptism.  It was a new experience for Maisy and Mina as they had never been to one, and a special experience for Lou because this is the first of her cousins her age to be baptized.  And Lou will be the next one.

Day 7 - Mega Doodles

Don't think I had completely given up - I was so thrilled to do the mega doodles.  I rolled out the paper on the floor while Maisy was at school and let Mina get a head start.  She laid down on the floor and drew a little face.  Then when Maisy got home she drew a Rapunzel of course, then wanted her drawing book so she could follow it and draw some animals.

When Lou came home from school, she came right in and drew a little self portrait.  Unfortunately for Lou, she had some homework to get done - but that was made more fun because she was able to get down on the floor and do it that way.  Her assignment was to write her spelling words upside down {that's a new one} to practice her new list. 

Ok, so that's how we started the 30 Day Hands On Play Challenge.  Wish me luck in doing better during the next week! 


  1. Glad you're joining the challenge Brooke! And those days happen here too. Totally understand the bossy commands during playtime. Very frustrating, I know!

  2. What fun activities - I think every kid needs to build at least 100 forts =-) Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Looking forwad to seeing what you post next week!
    Beth =-)

  3. Fun stuff. I like that you are doing yours in one long post. I hope people don't get tired of my little mini posts everyday. Maybe next week I will switch to just a weekly update of it all.

  4. Looks like you had great fun! I had to grin when I saw your daughter's pj's in the fort photos... we have the strawberry pajamas and the fairy pajamas too. I could totally see my daughter wearing the 2 together as well!



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