I have a strange, wonderful family. The kind that I can call upon to play Harry Potter characters for a birthday party, invite to a Dog’s first birthday party, or play hours of “Would you Rather” with. We host Christmas parties that others are adopted into, we love to be silly, and we adore the opportunity to teach a newbie how to water ski or wake board. I have reflected on this love that we have for each other and pondered on WHY we are such a strong family. We work together. YES. But we also PLAY together. I fondly think of years that I spent every Summer on the boat with my family or times that we ran through the trees playing games or hide and go seek.
My husband’s family also grew up playing together, but in a much more traditional, sporty way. Growing up in a family with 7 children, 5 of them being boys, they would rush through dinner time in able to get out to play ball together. To this day it is still a very strong part of who they are as a family and what we do when we get together.
According to the Harvard Planning Family Research Project, “Children from strong families have the best opportunities for success. Families play a key role in seamlessly connecting communities and have the greatest influence on young people’s development.” Children will benefit so greatly physically and mentally if you give them the opportunity to play with you and together as an entire family unit. I was so excited to host this family play date with Quaker as I am so passionate about this topic and believe strongly in the benefits of family time.
1. Time to laugh.
So often as parents we can get wrapped up in the “to-do’s”. There is laundry to be done, practices to attend, homework to complete, and tests to prepare for. If we give ourselves the chance to let go and have some fun with our kids it will be much easier to engage them in the working part if they feel like they can re-charge with you in the playing part. Relieving stress as a family through play is one of the best ways to come together as a family unit.
“I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off,” says Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, a psychologist and laugh therapist. “They might be healthier too.”
Yet researchers aren’t sure if it’s actually the act of laughing that makes people feel better. A good sense of humor, a positive attitude, and the support of friends and family might play a role, too. WebMD
2. Break Down Walls.
There is something about the medium of play that breaks down social barriers among people; whether you decide to play a boardgame, basketball, or charades, these types of activities seem to loosen people up. You may find your teenage son a lot more likely to want to talk about friends and school during a fooseball match rather than just sitting face to face. It works.
3. Create Traditions.
Children crave familiarity and routine. If you think back to some of your favorite childhood memories they probably revolve around a favorite dish, music, time of year, or a time that your family PLAYS together.
4. Stimulate Creativity
Children learn best when they are playing and a part of the process of learning. The same goes for us as adults and will give you the opportunity to learn and engage in a relaxed, fun environment. Problem solving skills are developing for children during times of play and this is a great opportunity as a parent to talk about different ways of looking at things and coming to a solution. If your child develops confidence during play time that will also translate well to decision making and thinking outside of the box in different areas of life as well.
5. Cooperation and Team Work
There are so many social skills that can be gained through play including how to “play nicely” with others—to work together, follow mutually agreed upon rules, and socialize in groups. If there is one thing that I have hoped for my family it would be that we are each other’s number one team mates cheering each other on. Just this weekend we were playing a board game as a family and my son really struggled with set backs and not being in the lead. The lessons we were teaching him that day had a lot to do with being a gracious winner as well as a gracious loser and being genuinely happy for your teammate who wins. I am sure this lesson will take a while! 🙂
I try really hard to get together with my siblings and their children at least once a month. Quaker was so generous in hosting this play date for us and we had such a great time! I sent out invitations for the time and place, we had our get together at a local park ready to play some games and eat some snacks! This is three of the five of us, my older sister Janae and my older brother Dan are missing, they live a little bit farther away so they couldn’t make it! I wanted to make sure to get a picture of the three of us with our families so you could see which little one belongs to which family. We were lucky enough to have our children all really close in age to each other. Dave’s family: Scott’s family (with my Mom in the picture as well) And my family: The kids had a ball learning how to play Bocce. I had never played before so Amy taught them how. The kids loved kicking around the ball and playing with sidewalk chalk. Before too long the rain kicked back up again. Thankfully we had a covered pavilion and decided this would be the perfect time to pull out our Quaker® Chewy® Granola Bars, that have 8 grams of whole grains in every bar and because they come in so many yummy flavors everyone was happy! I love Quaker granola bars as they are easy to pack and don’t make a big mess. They are also a healthy snack and that always makes a Mom happy. My nephew has a peanut allergy and even he found a few that he loved and could eat with no nuts in them! The bubble maker stole the show and was definitely a favorite! The kids were dancing to the sound of the rain and thunder as they played in the bubbles, it was quite magical! I am so excited to tell you that one of you lucky readers will win this entire play date family kit from Quaker! It was such a fun kit for us to play with as a family and I know you and your family will love it! Simply enter the rafflecopter below. Be patient as it loads, it can take a few minutes to do so. a Rafflecopter giveaway
You also have the chance to win the grand prize Quaker Keep Playing! With Chewypromotion by win $25,000 to make over your play space.
See www.ChewyKeepPlaying.com for official rules. #KeepPlaying
Quaker is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to me. This program is not administered or sponsored by Quaker or its affiliates, but solely by My Mommy Style.