50 ways to play together - Part One

Playing with Lego
Five little buses

 “There are little eyes upon you and they're watching night and day.

There are little ears that quickly take in every word you say.

There are little hands all eager to do everything you do.

And a little child who's dreaming of the day he'll be like you.” -- author unknown.

Happy 50th Birthday to Hackney Playbus

I had met the Hackney Playbus on National Playbus rallies and went along to help them celebrate their 40th birthday. I’d also written a blog about my visit.

In 2023 the bus was now celebrating their 50th birthday and for this they were posting 50 play ideas.Hackney's toy bus

50 Play Ideas 

Each idea is a simple task and easy to do and certainly not expensive.

Playing with my grandson each week I have been able to draw on my own play experiences with my Playbus.

I followed each day and compared their play suggestions to my play days with my grandson, Alexander, and now my granddaughter, Isabelle. Unintentionally we certainly had done quite a few ideas ourselves, adapted in our own way.

But it’s a great reminder of not only what to do but also why it is of value.

Indeed, never underestimate the importance of play.

So here are the first 10 ideas

(Thanks to Hackney for the reminder and thank you to Alexander and Isabelle too)

Ten Play ideas

1 Treasure Baskets.

Well, I think we have certainly done this. From a basket of toys, a box, or bag of any little things that we might find, things that just might appeal to little hands. It’s a bit like a ‘man drawer’ perhaps. Making sure they are safe to play with of course. Collecting together things that might be of interest or appeal to little hands. ‘Magpie collecting.’

2. Peek-a-boo

An easy game to play where you or your little one hide behind a scarf (or a pillow, or your hands) and then reappear saying "Peek-a-boo!" Yep, we certainly did this.peek-a-boo

We like the crochet blanket because you can see through the holes. Isabelle loves being able to see you but… can you see her?

peek a booHiding behind things and jumping out. This is a lot of fun for the very little baby as well as toddlers too. Alexander would hide under the pillows or under the cover and would be giggling away. Hmm! Now I wonder where he could be?Alexander ghost

3. Pots and Pans

Not necessarily with my pots and pans but we did explore sound and rhythm with anything we could find. Try tapping loudly and softly, fast and slow. Isabelle loves tapping her Duplo figures together, or bricks.tapping duplo figures

4. Cardboard Tube Games

There are certainly so many different ways to use cardboard tubes, from making binoculars to bracelets and much more. I like the idea of using them as tunnels for channelling lentils in a game of scooping and pouring. Loads of fun!

5. Chalk Pavement Painting

Chalk pavement painting! Hackney suggested you could make your own paint that dries into a chalk and can be swept away.

Here's now:

Mix 1/2 cup of cornflour with 2/3 cups water and a bit of food colouring - and that's it!

This works best in sunny weather.

One for the summer!?

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough pavement for chalk painting but we can at least make marks on the pavement on any of our journeys.

X Marks the spotYou could draw around a shadow, a friend, or just draw onto the pavement. ‘X’ marks the spot for pirate treasure hunting, or Arrows to follow.

6. Mud Kitchen

When I was very little, I remember making mud pies. I loved mixing the water and the soil as well as adding a few leaves or anything else to conjure up the idea of making pies.

Davids diggerWe did a bit of digging to plant a few seeds as well as holes to bury our pirate treasure.

Alexander loves collecting petals to make a perfume, I remember doing that too.

We also made a cocktail of smells gathering what we could find and adding it to a plastic cup, it’s amazing how different leaves or flowers change the smell of a given pot.

7. Laundry Basket boat

Basket babyLaundry Basket Row Boat! Jump in a laundry basket or big box, grab a couple of wooden spoons for oars, and set sail! You could even add a sail by taping a broom handle to your laundry basket and making a Cat in the basketsail out of anything from newspaper to an old t-shirt.

8. Bubbles

Bubbles! Big bubbles, little bubbles, pop, pop, pop!

bubbles Alexander loved bubbles and we ended up getting a bubble gun. It was great as it could blow out lots and lots of bubbles at once.

We would take the gun round to Great Nanny’s house and she knew when we were coming when she saw the bubbles blowing past.

I think there were a lot of people who loved seeing the bubbles too.

bubble funThey would land and settle on wet leaves or fly off into the sky on a windy day.

The only sad part was the number of times the guns stopped working so we just had to get a new one. Which reminds me, I need to get a new gun for baby Isabelle and me.


Make your own bubble mixture:

2 cups washing up liquid (Fairy liquid works well!)

1 tbsp cooking oil or glycerine or cornflour

1 cup water

Mix gently, try not to froth it up!

Let the mixture sit for a while for stronger bubbles

9. Transporting

Moving things from place to place? It's a natural part of a young child's development as they explore the world and their place in it.

We would use things like buckets, boxes, baskets, bags etc...

Taking toys to where we wanted to play.

10. Jump

As simple as it comes, jumping is an activity that can be done (almost) anywhere, or any time your little one has some energy to burn!

puddlesGoing on a walk and holding hands with adults, Alexander loved, being made to jump.

We made games challenging Alexander to jump like a frog, rabbit or kangaroo.

Or place hands slightly out of reach and see if he can jump up and touch.

That’s the first 10… the next 10 to follow.

I’m sure you can easily do all or any of these.

Where to get my books

Books are available from the following:   My Books

Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.com     Waterstones    

Barnes&Noble    Foyles (amongst others)

Don't forget to look and ask in your local Museum, book shop or even buy on your Sainsburys on line shop!

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