How to play with your preschooler without losing your mind

If you follow me on social media (you totally should) you might know that Aidan and I spend a lot of time playing together (parents of onlies can relate – not that other parents don’t play with their  kids but if there  are no siblings you automatically become Player 2)  people have remarked that they can’t see themselves playing with their kid like that without getting super bored…so I thought why not share the secret to not going off your rocker playing with your preschooler


Continue for a list of ways we “play together:” that actually works to my advantage

I read or heard somewhere that the reason playing with kids (especially a preschooler) can get boring is because they are pretending things you have to do anyway. Who wants to pretend to go shopping after spending hours in the mall. The story suggested leaving those sort of games for kids to play among themselves and finding something else for your quality time… So this is what we do.

1. Arts and crafts

This is a no brainier for us. Aidan has grown up seeing me create things and loves making things, so sometimes I will pull out some supplies and we will create. Instead of both of us making something like Popsicle stick trees (really why would I need more of those) I will get stuck into a DIY project for the house or as a gift and he will let his own mind run wild.

2. Working together

As a part-time work from home mom I sometimes use my work time as a sort of play time.  I’m lucky that Aidan is able to focus on one thing at a time – I know this is not the case with every preschooler, but it works for us. When I settle in in front of the computer I am likely to give him an activity book as his own “work” , he can generally focus on a task long enough for me to check all my emails , reply and schedule a few things. 


Games like dominoes, checkers/draughts and if I’m feeling generous monopoly are a great way to actually have fun and not just drink copious amounts of fake tea. We have the mini monopoly from Hasbro as well as this fun toilet trouble game. The toilet game works by one player spinning the toilet paper and hitting a number then having to flush that amount of times and hopefully avoiding getting squirted in the face.It sounds really silly but honestly it’s quite fun, and what wins my heart is that there are no parts to is one single system! Thank goodness.

4. Playdoh

We love playdoh, I mean type playdoh or playdough into the search bar and you will think that I have a problem. I like using playdoh as our  “quality time” activity because I can really make whatever I want in whatever time I have and then he tries to replicate which keeps him busy. The Hasbro kits like Aidan’s baking set is great for this


With this I’ll give him tasks…build a tower that is a pattern of blue red purple or whatever, this keeps him busy and me involved, but actually gives me time to get some work done with him playing in the same room. I’m actually  typing this while he builds a tower that has to be 20 blocks high, in alternating colours,  before he shows me.

6. Getting active

Involve kids in your favourite sporting activity,  for me that’s yoga, but you can do anything really, it gets you off your behind while making memories.

7. Get them involved in the house

Aidan will help with things like food prep (he likes to prep hates to eat, I’m the opposite) filling the  washing machine, separating clothes after it has been washed and rolling sock balls. With these I often have to promise some tablet time afterwards but hey that’s win win.

8. Movie nights

Some kids’ movies don’t suck (or maybe I have been brainwashed by those repetitive songs) so sometimes we will just watch a movie together

9.Spa days

Yes, I know I have a son. No, I don’t think I’m treating him like a girl. No, I don’t care that you think I am, in fact I bought him “girly Lego” because the “boy Lego” don’t have purple in the set and purple is his favorite colour. I don’t give him acrylic tips or anything but sometimes (this often coincides with movie night) I will put on a face mask and soak my feet and he will join me.

This is how I spend time with my son without driving tiny cars in circles at nauseum…I do believe in leaving him to do his own thing quite a lot and in play dates as well. what is your favorite “parent child” activity? 

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