The importance of play during the lockdown

Rebecca Redhouse, dramatherapist and Norwood’s psychological therapies senior, emphasises the importance of playing with your children during the lockdown.

Play is vital to children in order to make sense of their world. Through it they create relationships, explore emotions, develop language and practise imaginary roles. In this time of great uncertainty, play is a great way for children to express their anxieties and hopes, while simultaneously spending time with their favourite people – YOU! Here are some games which have been developed by one of our therapists, Sarah Harris…

Games to play with children in lockdown.

The airport game

Every room in the home (or if there is only one room, the room can be divided into sections) becomes a different “country”. The children are given roles (and can swap roles, of course) of checking passports and luggage, or being flight attendants. If one can be assured of safety, the children can then piggy-back each other into the different rooms, once one is allowed through. Before the game starts, at least an hour can be spent packing and making passports, and deciding what country each room can be. After the children are tired of this game they can research the country their room has become, then draw pictures, for example, to decorate the room (which might have become Israel or Canada or America, etc).

The raft game

This is a very good game to play with children when parents are tired because it is played on their bed! The premise is that they are stuck on a raft (in fact, the bed) with each other, drifting around, tired and wondering when they’re going to be rescued. It can be a good way for children to express their fears in a “safe” way. Books or other “desert island” items can be put on the “raft” beforehand so they can be discovered during the game.

TV Games

One week could be, for example, Come Dine With Me, where each participant takes a day to cook the evening meal (if with young children, they cook with an adult in a household, or help prepare the menu, design it, film it) and gives points for each meal. If considered too competitive an element to give points (might end in tears) it could be done without this element. Other TV programmes played on each night of the week could be Britain’s Got Talent, X-Factor, or even The Apprentice.

We’d love to hear about any games you have played with your children which you have found helpful and fun.