How to Make Fun Time Meaningful

A Parent’s Guide to Play

Play is key to childhood—it’s not only a great release but a huge part of the learning process. For some helpful advice, we sat down with Jaycina Almond, mom to Syx and founder of Tender, a nonprofit that provides support to single mothers.

Last updated: August 4, 2022
3 min read
How to play to the fullest
  1. Forget the rules.

    Jaycina believes play is a form of learning for kids. She encourages parents to let go of any rules or outcomes and resist the well-intended urge to correct how they’re playing.
    “When we do that, we take away their ability to make the connection themselves,” Jaycina says. Instead, trust that children know what they need in that moment and watch them find joy in discovering something new. In other words, let go—and let them have fun!
  2. Leave distractions at the door.

    Engaging in play can provide a positive impact on the mental health of both kids and parents. Jaycina suggests even five minutes of distraction-free play each day is a way to connect with your kids and boost everyone’s mood. Win-win.
  3. Tap into your five senses.

    Utilizing your senses is the most basic way to let loose and have fun. As a young single mother, Jaycina adopted a motto, “Just add water,” and often splashes around with Syx using a bowl of water with spoons or a bath full of toys.
    Jaycina encourages parents to incorporate the senses as much as possible into playtime, whether it’s tasting a new food, listening to a fun song, or rolling around outside in the grass. The main takeaway? Just take a moment to share and enjoy the simple things in life with your kids.
How to play to the fullest

“When I’m fully present with Syx, it makes my day so much better. Playing with her is grounding—a way to reset and de-stress.”

Jaycina Almond,
Mom to Syx and Founder of Tender

For more expert advice on Play, Sport, and Wellness, explore our Parent's Guides to Back to School.

How to play to the fullest

Related Stories

Three benefits of unstructured play

A Parent’s Guide to Play

The Benefits of Unstructured Playtime

A Parent's Guide to Back to School

A Parent’s Guide

Supporting Your Kids for Back-to-School

How to support your kids from the sidelines

A Parent’s Guide to Sport

The Best Ways to Cheer from the Sidelines

Tips for talking with your kids

A Parent’s Guide to Wellness

Tips for Talking with Your Kids

Life lessons to be learned from sport

A Parent’s Guide to Sport

What Kids Can Learn from Competition