Mum, Come and Play!

Playing with your child is important for their development and also to aid in building strong bonds between you.

Young kids are absolute sponges for learning. They are constantly taking in new knowledge, developing skills, and realising their place in the world. As parents, our job is to nurture them and guide them as they grow – especially as they tend to look to their parents as their main role models.

Kids learn from their play. So while kicking a ball around with them, flying a kite together, crafting, or building together with LEGO, may seem like a frivolous venture, it really does help to develop their learning. Shared play can also nurture strong bonds between you and your child.

Building the bond

One of the important things to remember when you’re playing with your child is that this is THEIR world. So get down to their level – sit at the kid’s craft table, or plonk yourself on the floor with their LEGO bricks – and they will be more likely to converse with you and involve you in their play than if you’re hovering above them. This also helps you to make eye contact with them which promotes closeness and trust.

Let your child take control by playing what they want to play. Obviously there’s a limit to how many times you can play Go Fish without wanting to jump off the imaginary pier, but try and let your child guide the playtime so you can understand their interests. Suggestions of how to extend their play are great, as is gentle persuasion to perhaps try a different activity once they have exhausted their learning opportunities for the day with one thing. When role playing or telling stories through play, you can take turns at choosing characters or plot points so that they feel you are both part of the story.

Playfulness (ie, being that silly parent!), can help to encourage co-operation and just makes things more fun!

“When parents observe their children in play or join with them in child-driven play, they are given a unique opportunity to see the world from their child’s vantage point as the child navigates a world perfectly created just to fit his or her needs.” 

American Academy of Pediatrics

Play benefits

One of the most popular ways for parents and kids to play together is through building and creating with LEGO. Play benefits of LEGO can include:


  • Problem-solving
  • Sorting
  • Divergent thinking
  • Logical reasoning


  • Achievement
  • Initiative
  • Cooperation
  • Negotiation
  • Responsibility


  • Vocabulary
  • Recalling and creating stories


  • Coordination
  • Visual perception
  • Motor development
  • Spatial orientation

Maths & Science:

  • Size
  • Order
  • Shapes
  • Numbers
  • Patterns
  • Estimating
  • Balance and gravity
  • Symmetry
  • Cause and effect

What’s your favourite playtime activity that you enjoy with the kids? Join the discussion in the comments below.

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her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon for LEGO

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. dawnblyth 03/07/2019 at 10:39 pm

    We are a football loving family so its often you will find us together outside kicking a ball around. We are also loving going on family bike rides to the local park where there is a small bmx track that the boys can play on. We find lots of things to do that don’t cost a lot of money. The latest thing we love doing is Rock painting – decorating rocks with paint and then taking these rocks to local parks to hide. Once we have hidden our rocks we can then look for other rocks that have been hidden by others. Like a treasure hunt its quite fun!

  2. MuddledUpMolly 01/07/2019 at 9:14 pm

    I, like my own mother, find it hard to just sit down and enjoy play time with the kids when there are so many things that need to be done around the house. I do try and make the time to just sit down and enjoy time with the kids, from playing a game to reading a story. I know I do need to make more time doing it but it is something I am always mindful of.

  3. Jen_Wiig 01/07/2019 at 1:58 pm

    I really enjoy building forts with the boys im actually the one who will often suggest it and they deff dont need any encouragement, some of the master pieces theyve created and we’ve then hung out in telling silly jokes, reading, watching a movie and even having a campout at times have been so cool.
    When its just me and my youngest at home our fav playtime is playing with the duplo… Can sit down with him for hours creatibg all kinds of things and been schooled a fair few times in what piece goes where… The vonding time is so special and ill iften notice things about them i hadnt before and treasure that because had i not played with them i mayve never of known

  4. Alezandra 29/06/2019 at 11:19 pm

    The Toy Story 4 lego sets look amazing! If only we had unlimited budget 😛 My kid is into imaginative play and we enjoy making Lego. I got him a Creative box and this gives us an opportunity to create things out of scratch but also have done things according to instruction. Our family is into Lego as his dad has his own collection of Lego toy collection too.

  5. SarahBlair 21/06/2019 at 4:43 pm

    I often find it difficult to just play with my kids rather than doing all of the things that I am ‘supposed’ to do as a mum, I really need to learn to shut off the constant list of things that I ‘should’ be doing that is running through my head and just play. It is something that I will work on.

  6. Micht 20/06/2019 at 12:13 pm

    A side note…just to add…i do find it difficult to switch off mum duties in my head and just be a child with them…its a struggle ..and i beat myself up about it sometimes… but im a work in progress

  7. Micht 20/06/2019 at 12:02 pm

    We try our best to make time with our kiddies… they love us reading to them and getting into storytelling… and when it comes down to games we play monopoly, dominoes and perfection…all fun interactive games that really get thwm laughing and talking . .. being able to do this is not always possible…but wherever possible we make the time…i think it makes a huge difference to their development and self esteem…

  8. Mands1980 18/06/2019 at 9:01 am

    We love playing laser tag in our house we bought 2 sets of 2 and the kids just love it throughout the house. It always comes out when friends come over too. The kids also like to have a hit of a tennis ball when the weather is fine or over summer play fun games in the pool with balls and hitting them to each other or tag in the pool that’s an interesting one. Another one the kids never get bored with is hide and seek hiding away and we count for 20secs then try find them they can be so loud sometimes.

  9. Bevik1971 17/06/2019 at 12:55 pm

    I really enjoy playtime with my 6 year old daughter, she has a vivid imagination and every night we either sit in the bath together or in her ned and play her games. They don’t usually involve any props but just using your imagination we make up names and outfits of made up superheroes 🙂 We discuss what they look like, what they are wearing and what their powers are – once this is done we then proceed to play a game where we have a battle against each other 🙂 It’s actually a lot of fun and she really enjoys it, it’s our bonding time as I work full time and her Dad is her main carer so it’s special for us <3

  10. Shorrty4life1 12/06/2019 at 8:30 pm

    My best playtime activity to do with my children is to go to the beach and build sand castles and see who’s can be the biggest. We are all pretty competitive so we always but a time down and by this time we have to stop and judge. It’s heaps of fun. I’ve always been told by kindys that kids learn through play and I so agree. My son used to say different colours while playing or be counting. Was super cool just watching and seeing how much they get out of playing and having fun.

  11. kymmage 12/06/2019 at 7:41 pm

    I find that description of wanting to jump of a pier to be quite apt. I love my kids. Love them! But I find it really quite hard to play imaginatively with them. For one thing they are interested in things that don’t really interest me, and I don’t want to detract from their enjoyment by being disinterested 🤐 and also they have to be the boss of the game. So sometimes I’m not sure I’m adding anything to the pretend role play because I’m not allowed to move from the script they are playing out haha.

    My favourite playtime activity at this point is definitely board games. I can be ‘all in’ on that activity. They have my full attention and we have a good laugh. My second favourite thing is building with Lego with them. We have a few Lego sets and whether it’s my eldest free-building her fantastic scenes, or creating her stop motion videos… or my youngest who likes to build to the instructions I feel I can have an important role in it and get enjoyment too.

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