Igniting Curiosity Through the Power of Play

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Unplugged PD Day
Jan 20, 2021

Unplugged PD Day

Between virtual learning, working from home, and online play dates, many families are feeling screen-exhausted. This PD day, unplug as a family and take part in stress-reducing activities together. 

Alternative Fort Building

Instead of building a classic fort using blankets and chairs, try building other types of dwellings like castles, animal dens, caves, or rocket ships. For inspiration, think about what kind of structures you find different people and animals inhabiting. Ask your children how you might recreate these homes using items like boxes, bowls, crates, or newspapers. This activity is designed to encourage cooperation, imaginative thinking, and STEAM-based skills. 

Play Prompt: Set a timer for 2 minutes. Encourage each family member to collect unique items from around the house. When the two minutes are up, look at the items you’ve gathered. What type of structures can you build using these items? Talk about the animals, insects, or people you might find inside these structures.

Outdoor Texture Scavenger Hunt

Take a family nature walk and search for unique textures. Spend time taking a close-up look at different trees, rocks, and leaves. Practice literacy skills by describing the unique characteristics, patterns, and consistencies of the textures you find. You can even document your findings using sketches or photographs. Taking time to connect with nature relieves stress and helps children learn about the world around them. 

Play Prompt: Using playdough is a great way to further investigate texture. Bring playdough on your nature walk to make impressions of the different textures you find. Press the dough against tree bark, sidewalks, leaves, and rocks. Take time to compare and discuss the playdough prints you’ve created.

Indoor Sensory Beach Bin

Bring some warmth and sunshine to your PD day by creating a miniature indoor beach! First, make your own moldable beach sand by combining 4 cups of flour with ½ cup of vegetable oil. Then, build sandcastles by adding sand toys or kitchen utensils to the mix. Enhance your child’s sensory experience by bringing items like gems and seashells to your miniature beach. Sensory activities offer children a calming play experience that encourages cognitive development and fine motor skills. 

Play Prompt: Make your whole PD day beach themed! Enjoy fresh tropical fruit, hold sandcastle building competitions, and play miniature beach volleyball.

DIY Board Games

Change up your family game night by creating your own unique board game! You can use pieces from games you own or create entirely new ones using craft supplies. Spend time deciding game goals and rules together. Help your children practice problem-solving by asking open-ended questions, such as “What will happen if…” You will likely develop and test many ideas throughout the game-building process, allowing your children to indulge their creativity and build critical thinking skills along the way.

Play Prompt: If you have a hard time getting started, try incorporating different themes, rules, and objectives from games your children know well. Can you combine elements of all your favourite games to create one super game? 

Backyard Olympics

Enjoy the outdoors together by hosting your own Backyard Olympics! You can play games your family knows, like soccer or cornhole, or you can compete in unconventional activities. Can you create an obstacle course out of snow? Can you work in teams to build the biggest snowman? Participating in outdoor play reduces stress and anxiety and improves physical literacy. 

Play Prompt: Create your own scoreboard and medals. Instead of first, second, and third place, award family members for accomplishments like “funniest snowman” or “best team player.” 


How will your family spend your PD day, unplugged? Share your stories and pictures with us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter