Do you let your children go out to play on their own? Recent reports suggest that parents are reluctant to let their children climb trees in case they injure themselves. Another report shows that only 3% of 11 year olds are proficient enough at riding their bike to be able to cycle to school. Safety is also a factor here, the Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman will not allow his daughter to cycle the 400m she needs to reach the local park due so safety fears, but he also stated that he is actively lobbying government to change this.

So what is the answer?   How many of us take the time to play games with our children? More than 30% of mums of pre-school age children claim that their children are happiest when playing screen based games.

We believe that traditional games have a huge role to play here. If you give your child a wooden jigsaw such as Lanka Kade’s number dinosaur ( or the letter versions):

fair trade wooden number jigsaw dinosaur design


What will they do with it? The most obvious thing is to make the dinosaur shape by fitting the pieces together based on shape, but what else is there? We can discuss what colours there are, or encourage our child to follow the number or letter sequence, rather than the shape of the pieces.

So the child’s imagination lets them roam freely, or you can help with their sorting, matching , fine motor skills.

There is also a wealth of board games available, from travel games in tins to huge floor games. And they’re not all winner takes all, some of Haba’s games, such as the Orchard series, involve the children playing together to reach the goal.

children's co-operative board game

Here the children are encouraged to play together to collect all the fruit before the raven gets it all.

Games can also teach in such a way that the children do not even know they are learning. Take the Wildcardgames series of card games, such as the Mapominoes:

educational geography based card game like dominoes


This is a card game based on dominoes, so on one level the children have to find matching cards to lay side by side. However, it is also a map of the British Isles, so the players can also get to learn about their own country.

So if we are stuck indoors, by choice or because of the vagaries of our weather, let’s interact with our children , play games with them, and see how much fun learning can be for them.