COVID Connections: Play is not only worthwhile but necessary!

Do you find yourself cringing at the sight of a paint set? If you’re a parent, you aren’t alone. Parents’ biggest obstacle to promoting creative play at home is the mess. Think of dried playdough, Legos on the floor, and abstract art on the wall (who knows what’s in between the couch cushions!). The mess can feel overwhelming.

this week’s COVID Connections brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition.

Your children are home from school for the foreseeable future with more time for creative projects. You know what that means: a big old mess! Is it worth it? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), play is not only worthwhile but also necessary. In 2018, the AAP even recommended pediatricians to write  “prescriptions for play” for the first two years of a child’s life. Throughout childhood, play helps children:

  • Express and cope with feelings
  • Engage in problem-solving
  • Celebrate their uniqueness

Diana Smith, a Prevention Specialist, mother of four, and grandmother of nine, advises parents to “Embrace the mess and look at the memories made.”

“Our situation has a bright side,” Smith adds. “On a normal day, parents are at work and kids are at school. We’re making memories and connections during this crisis that will last a lifetime.”

Still, there are ways to corral the mess to benefit everyone involved. Here are some tips:

  • Designate creative spaces. Choose an area such as the garage, basement, outdoors, or even the bathtub, for creative activities. These can be left and cleaned up later.
  • Limit creative supplies. Provide the necessary supplies for the creative activity, and add more as needed. This will reduce clean up at the end.
  • Have clean-up time: A clean-up rule teaches personal responsibility and eases the burden.
  • Lower your standards. Kids are messy, and that’s okay. Focus on the memories you are making.

So, parents, stay connected with your children through messy, creative play in the coming weeks. To get you started, here are some activities you can try.


Egg Toss


1 egg per team


  1. Make teams of two. Each team should begin by standing an equal distance apart.
  2. Toss the egg. If it is caught, every player takes a step back.
  3. A team is “out” if the egg is dropped and/or breaks.

The last team standing wins.



Brownie in a Mug


¼ cup flour

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ cup milk

Chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Add flour, brown sugar, and cocoa powder to mug. Whisk until blended.
  2. Add butter and milk. Stir until mixed.
  3. Microwave for 1 minute, 30 seconds at a time.
  4. Microwave in 10-second intervals until there is no fluid on surface.
  5. Add chocolate chips on top (optional)
  6. Let cool and Enjoy!

*To find recipes using ingredients you have at home, visit



Homemade Playdough 


1 cup flour

¼ cup salt

½ cup warm  water

1 tbsp cream of tartar (optional)

Food coloring (optional)


  1. Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar.
  2. Mix warm water with a few drops of food coloring.
  3. Slowly pour the water into the flour mixture, stirring as you pour. Stir until combined.
  4. Knead with your hands until the flour is completely absorbed. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Enjoy!




No real trick here – just follow where the leader goes! Under a table? Over the bed? Into the closet? This physical activity can easily go along with Simon Says.

CONVERSATION STARTER: “What qualities do you look for in a good friend?”



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