Playtime

Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder need lots of positive excitement in their lives. They crave excitement in large doses; if it’s not provided in a positve, fun, parent-led way, they will create their own negative excitement – chaos and out of control behaviour.

Children with RAD also need fun activities and playtime with their parents to help them to want to bond and spend time with their parents. Parents they see as being “boring’ or ‘no fun’ will not be parents that they will put a lot of effort into being with.

As Roald Dahl says:

“A stodgy parent is no fun at all! What a child wants – and DESERVES – is a parent who is sparky!”

Parents that create positive excitement and are fun to be around will be the ones the child will want to be with!

Play is used to:

  • build attachment
  • eliminate negative excitement (chaos)
  • build brain power
  • get exercise
  • learn motor skills and balance
  • teach children how to have fun and be fun!

Listed below are fun, easy activities that will take about 10 minutes a day to complete. Aim for one a day and help your child to WANT to spend time with you!

Remember:

  • Parents should be in charge if the activity – NOT the child
  • Keep activities short to hold your child’s interest throughout playtime
  • End when the parent decides – NOT the child
  • Laugh and be goofy!!

— Get LOUD — be CrAzY — make SILLY faces — get EXCITED

be CREATIVELAUGH!!♥


♥Watermelon seed spitting contest

Buy a watermelon with seeds in it next time you go to the store, and have a watermelon party in your backyard! Practice spitting seeds, and then have a final round of spitting to see who can spit a seed the farthest.

♥Play hide & seek 

All children love this game! The excitement of hiding and then being found gets your heart rate going and lets the giggles loose!

♥Hand clap games

There are so many of these games that I couldn’t decide which ones to list here. So here is a link to a great site for these games: funclapping.com

The more complicated you can get, the more brain power you use, and the more fun you will have!

♥Dance with your child while singing “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”

Nobody can stay grouchy or solemn when doing this. NOBODY.

Full lyrics here

♥Have a marshmallow fight

Every child loves marshmallows, and everyone, for some mysterious reason, loves to throw food.

♥Play Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

“Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes. Head and shoulders, knees and toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose.”

Speed up after every round, and try throwing in an extra direction every once in a while – it will keep your child on their toes!

♥Play tic-tac-toe with icing

Use an easy icing like this one: whip 6 tablespoons of butter, add 3 cups of icing sugar and beat until fluffy.

Or try this fancier one that is just as easy, but a little more work: White Chocolate Icing

Scoop the icing into Ziploc bags and snip a corner off to ‘write’ with. Clear a spot off on the table or countertop and play away! *Always clean up when you’re done a round. The best way is to eat the icing.

♥Blow bubbles

Make bubble soap my mixing 6 cups of water and 1 cup of dish soap. For extra strong bubbles add 1 tablespoon glycerin or 1/4 cup light corn syrup.

Bubble wands are also fun to make out of wire (coat hangers work well), or just use the ring of a Mason jar lid.

If it’s cold outside, try blowing bubbles while you sit in the tub (fully clothed) with your feet up on the edge (another irresistible giggle starter).

♥Play “This Little Piggy”

No matter how old your child is, this is guaranteed to get them to laugh! Make up your own Little Piggy narrative as you go along.

♥Play Cat’s Cradle

All you need is a long piece of string!

Here is a great video that shows exactly how to do it: Cat’s Cradle

♥Play hockey with M’n’Ms* and straws

Play on a tabletop, marking off a section at each end as goals. Bend the end of a straw into the shape of a hockey stick and set your ‘puck’ in the middle of the table. Have a face-off, and let the play begin! Each M’n’M can only be used for one goal. Once it’s in the net it MUST be eaten.

*Canadian Rockets also make great pucks, especially the jumbo ones.

♥Jump rope together while singing rhymes

There are hundreds of jump rope rhymes and chants, all of them are fun!

♥Wear funky hats for the day

You can make this into a two-playtime project by making the hats before you wear them. Buy a few old or cheap hats, gather pom poms, pipe cleaners, fake flowers, feathers – whatever strikes your fancy – and decorate them into the wackiest, weirdest, wildest hats!

Wear them for a whole day. Just seeing someone wearing such a crazy piece of headgear will make you laugh!

♥Hopscotch

Outside on the sidewalk, or inside on the living room floor, there are many, many funky variations you can add to this game:

  • Hop on one foot through the whole path
  • Count backwards as you go
  • Name a family member (desserts, colours, etc.) for every square
  • Sing a loud and goofy song while hopping on one foot and going as fast as you can

♥The Cup Game

A classic! Learning how to do it is almost the most fun – or the funniest, anyway!

And all you need is one red Solo cup per person (or the equivalent).

How to play the Cup Game

Once you get the hang of it try passing the cup to the next player at the end of the sequence, or stacking them into a pyramid or large stack.

♥Baby wrap swing and hammock

A friend told me about these amazing ideas, and here is a site that shows you how to do it! All you need is a baby wrap (or a long piece of high-quality fabric) and you can get your kids swinging and having fun!

Joyful Abode

♥Moustaches

Paint a moustache on your face and act like everything is normal. Make them short and bushy, long and curly, or huge and lopsided; use face paints, washable markers, highlighters, icing, or peanut butter.

Add one to your child’s face, too.

♥Blow up balloons

Balloons always bring an air of festivity with them; grab a bag of brightly coloured ones of assorted sizes, blow them up, and party! 

Always let a few of them go just after you’ve blown them up to full size!


“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.
But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
-Fred Rogers “Mister Rogers”


If you have some great playtime ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them! Send them into karen@nextgenerationattachment.org.