Parenting Resource

5 Ways to Play With…Sheets

Jul 31, 2020

A simple sheet is all you need to have playtime "covered."

1. Shake it! Lay the sheet flat on the floor and let toddlers (or sitting infants) sit on top. With adults on either end holding the edge, shake the sheet. Toddler may enjoy walking on top of the shaking sheet.

Alternatively, have adults shake the sheet about 12-18 inches off the ground while toddlers crawl or sit underneath. You can also play parachute – have adults swing the sheet in the air and then let it billow down over the children.

Finally, you can play “popcorn” by placing soft foam balls on top of the sheet and have children help you shake the sheet while you chant, “Pop, pop, pop, says the popcorn in the pan. Pop, pop, pop, catch me if you can!” On the last line, shake the sheet very fast and watch the balls fly off (let toddlers chase and find them).

2. Tents are terrific. Lay a sheet over two chairs, or combination of furniture, to build a tent for children to crawl inside. Additions that toddlers may enjoy: a child-safe flashlight, a blanket, some plastic cups and plates for a pretend “picnic.”

3. Hit the target. Lay the sheet on the floor and place a colored plastic/paper plate in the middle of the sheet. Gather some small stuffed animals or pillows and take turns throwing them at the target.

4. The floor is lava! Place the sheet on the floor. Lay a path of pillows on top of the sheet from one end to the other. Show your toddler how to step or crawl over the pillow “rocks” so they don’t touch the “lava” (the sheet).

5. Shadow play is a sure thing. Drape a sheet between two chairs to make a flat curtain. Shine a flashlight onto the sheet and watch as your child discovers that, by holding their hand up in the light, they can make shadows on the sheet. Offer props like a hat or objects like blocks, toy cars, or a stuffed animal that they can use to make shadows as well.

About Baby Steps

This article was featured in Baby Steps, a ZERO TO THREE newsletter for parents and caregivers. Each issue offers science-based information on a topic of interest to parents and caregivers of young children—from sleep to challenging behaviors, and everything in between.

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