- Recycle some of your rubbish.
For examples, the empty boxes or plastic bottles should be used to set up a pretend shop in your children's bedroom or just in a corner of your own backyard. It doesn't need a huge space. Just make sure the boxes and the bottles are clean. Once your children are bored with the same items, you can discard them and replace with new ones.
- Go to the nearest playground or park.
I reckon most parents already knew about this. But what I'm going to suggest here is instead of only your family, why not inviting more families to join. Well, the more the merrier! You can have a simple picnic together while your children play and socializing with each other. Last Thursday, we (my friends and I here) organised a trip to Parana Park where our children had the chance to play in the huge playground and splishing splashing in the public pools in the park.
- Use your imagination to create something that you can play with.
It's easy to set a play area. You can use your dining table as a cave especially if you have a huge table cloth. Your dining chairs can be a bus when you put them in lines. Your sofa can be a rocket ship. Nothing can stop you play with your children when you use your imagination. Your children can help contributing their ideas too when you encourage them to imagine.
- Involve your children in the household chores.
Doing household chores should not be so mundane. You can change the chores into exciting chores when you ask your children to play some small part. As I have daughters, I like to do some baking with them. They like to help me stir, pour some milk or just put some chocolate chips or raisins on muffins. It's not wrong to teach your son on how to cook because they also need the basic skill especially when they have gone to university. My late mum asked my brothers to peel onions, fry eggs or cook the rice whenever she was too busy with other chores. Now, when they have grown up, at least they can cook something simple for themselves.
- Introduce to your children any simple games or traditional games that you used to play when you were small.
There are heaps of traditional Malaysian games that I reckon our children don't really know and never heard of. We should revive the traditional games like "congkak, teng-teng, guli" and many more. A simple game of Peek A Boo or what we call "Ba Cak" is suitable for babies. Other games would be more suitable to older children. Playing hide and seek can help you to redirect your children from their tantrums! You only need few ringgits (or dollar or whatever the currency you use) to buy some rubber bands and make a jumping rope for your children.
- Share some stories about what happened when your children were small or even include your children's names in the story that they love.
The key to all of these is your time, energy, enthusiasm and your interest in spending quality time with your children. It doesn't have to take so long for you to play with them. They need our attention when they are growing up as they are not going to be responsible individuals if we fail to shape them.