The Power of Playful Parenting

Unleash Joyful Learning Experiences

Meenakshi Dogra, ECD Consultant, UNICEF EAPRO
Yuliana Duwith holds her 18-month-old daughter Meylan Diana at home after attending an immunization session at the Sejahtera Health Post in Sorong, West Papua Province, Indonesia, on 22 November 2021
08 June 2023

IMAGINE this – you and your child laughing together, sharing moments of pure happiness and laughter. That is the power of playful parenting!

When we bring play into our everyday interactions with our children, it is like we know what they need. We connect on a whole new level, showing that we understand them and are always present, fully invested, and truly love spending every moment with them. It is a secret element that deepens the parent-child connections like nothing else.

Parenting through play can be super fun and support your child’s holistic development. When your child is engaged in play, their curiosity is sparked, and their creativity grows. Through play-based activities at home like building blocks, pretend play, and solving puzzles together, your child develops critical thinking skills, language skill, and a love for learning that lasts a lifetime. For instance, when you engage in imaginative play, your child learns how to navigate social interactions, express emotions, negotiate, solve problems, and develop essential life skills like empathy and resilience.

And let's not forget about the physical benefits! Playing active games at home, exploring outdoors, and engaging in games promote your child's physical development, coordination, balance of large muscles and overall well-being. So, always get ready to run, jump, and play like there is no tomorrow!

You can create plenty of playful experiences for your child at home and embark on some active play adventures! Here are some quick tips for you to remember:

a stickman is playing bubble with his son

Embrace the moment: Set aside dedicated time to simply play and be present with your child. Forget about other distractions such as work, chores, mobile phone, and immerse yourself in the magic of the moment with your child.

Follow their lead: Let your child take the lead in play. Encourage their ideas and interests and watch their confidence flourish.

icon of family playing with children
icon of family playing with children

Get imaginative: Create a playful environment with whatever you have in hand at home. Recycled materials or other objects that may inspire imagination, exploration, and creativity among children!

Make everyday moment playful: Turn your daily routine activities like cooking time, mealtime, bath time, and bedtime into fun and exciting experiences. Sing while you cook or have a silly dance during bath time or tell a story before bedtime. Your child will love it, and so will you!

Mother and her child icon
icon of family laughing with their children

Laugh, Laugh, and Laugh: Let loose, laugh out loud, and relish the pure joy of being playful with your child. This will create a positive and loving atmosphere against stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.

Remember, self-care is not selfish: Incorporate self-care practices into playtime routines, such as join your children in activities you enjoy or take short breaks for mindful exercises or engage in hobbies that bring you joy. These small self-care moments within playful parenting can enhance your mental health and well-being. You need to remember that taking care of your mental health is essential for you, your family and child’s well-being!

icon of a couple

By infusing playfulness into your interactions with your child, you can create deeper connections, unlock the wealth of mental health benefits for you and your child through nurturing social and emotional skills, and make learning an exciting experience for your child. So, let's celebrate the power of play by embracing its potential to create a home filled with happiness, love, and endless opportunities. Join UNICEF on this journey as we celebrate the magic of playful parenting during the month of June and make unforgettable memories with your young ones.


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