30 for 30 Challenge


I have a confession:  I am not very good at playing with my kids. Sure, I can create activities and facilitate play with the best of them…but I am normally content to just sit on the sidelines and watch the fun take place rather than participate in it.


Not any more, however.


I am challenging myself (and those of you who want to join me) to spend 30 minutes every day for the month of June playing with my kids.


Not watching them play.


Not blogging or talking on the phone while they play.


Not lounging in the sun while they play.


I’ll be spending 30 precious minutes playing with them….fully engaged, fully present, and fully theirs.


Will you join me?



  1. LOVE this challenge! Maybe it’s the teacher is us? I’m totally a facilitator too and have been trying to actually get on the floor in the mix more the last few days. Totally excited to be held accountable to do it and know there’s others out there doing the same!

    1. I think being a teacher is TOTALLY the reason we tend to do this! WE were TAUGHT how to facilitate learning (and play) with the goal for children to do the tasks independently since we can’t “teach” 25 kids one-on-one. :)

  2. I actually started that this week! I’d like to say that I’m a great facilitator, but actually engaging in the game itself doesn’t always happen as often as it should…..so glad to know that I’m not the only one!!!

  3. I wonderful idea. School is out here and other than lining up activities for them to complete while I do housework/tasks/fiddle online, I have started making an effort to be very involved in their play– together and individually. Interesting what my kiddos come up with as they play too. Today it was puzzles and pretending to live in a castle, yesterday it was building lego rockets and playing with ponies, day before it was playing in the water and making mud.

  4. All mothers are teachers, we are their first,teachers I think its great. People don’t realize how its soo important to play with your child…..

  5. I’m in! I think my older daughter will benefit from the one on one attention (she has a 4.5 month old sister to “compete” with!).

  6. Count me in! I was just thinking that I need to spend more time actively playing with my son!! Let’s do it!

  7. I’m game! Question…is it 30 minutes playing with EACH kid, or 30 minutes TOTAL playing with the kids?

    1. I’m planning on 30 minutes total playing with both kids together. :) 30 minutes with EACH child might be a completely different challenge. :)

      1. Phew! I was afraid I’d already committed to spending 2.5 hours just playing with the kids! ;) Great idea, and perfectly timed at the start of summer (and my new beginning as a SAHM), so maybe I can develop some good habits. Hmmmm, maybe I will shoot for giving each kid their own 30 minutes…

  8. YES! I have actually been thinking about this for awhile now and have been feeling a bit guilty that I don’t really play WITH her. I’m definitely in.

  9. Oh, I so need to do this. I’m horrible at playing with my kids. My husband probably does this everyday but when they are playing I run around and clean, cook and do laundry. Summer is a great time to try!

  10. This is just what I need right now. Thank you, and for making me not feel like a bad mom for finding it challenging to engage with my 3 year-old boy for more than 5 minutes at a time!

  11. I am very guilty of this too. I will TRY this challenge. I will probably not make 30 days in a row, but trying is something right? How sad is that last sentence? :(

    1. Not sad at all, Kate! I am notorious for not keeping my own challenges…and this one will probably not be an exception! It’s the trying that’s the important part! :)

  12. So glad you were honest and posted this! I always feel SO guilty that I don’t play with my kids as much as I should. I too am a teacher and do lots of crafts with them, but don’t get on the floor enough with them. I’m IN!! My kids are going to LOVE June! Thank you!

  13. Yes! My husband is so good at this, but me not so much! I will join you! You are humble to admit it and wise to put out the challenge. Thank you!

  14. I will be joining you. Thanks for putting out a challenge I hope to achieve this summer!

  15. I think this is a great challenge. Surely you do this already with your children. You can easily fill 30 minutes with vrrroooming cars, building train tracks, ahving a dance party, building a blanket fort, arranging animals, catching butterflies, going on a bug hunt, etc.

    1. Yes, we already do all of these things. But in the past, I don’t feel like I have given them my undivided attention during play…I tend to “get them started” and then get other things done after a short while.

  16. i am in too. Looks like tomorrow is going to be a rainy day, so looks like we are going to have to start on an inside 30 minutes of play.

  17. What a great idea! We started tonight by pulling out the hose and playing a few water games followed by picking raspberries. Great night. Love seeing how sweet my daughter can be. :)

  18. OK ….. when I first read this I thought it said 30 days of pRaying with your kids for 30 minutes. I thought, wow, I don’t kow if I could do 30 days of 30 minutes of praying with just myself let alone with my kids. : ) So, now that I’ve read the real words, I’m totally on board with pLaying for 30 mintues for 30 days! So, what are we starting with tomorrow? (just kidding … sort of : ) thanks Jenae!!

  19. I will try too! I love watching my girls play and I relish in seeing their imagination take off but I don’t like getting down and playing Barbie. There was an “blurp” similar to this in Dear Abby a few years ago. The mom was saying how she didn’t enjoy playing & the response was almost that she was a bad mother. I think, as adults, we crave adult stimulation, not childs play. I honestly don’t know if I know how to play – but that foam sword fight sure was great tonight! Thanks for the challenge.

  20. Yes I will dothis too!! I find myself thinking about how when I was a kid all that I wanted was for my mom to play with me and give me attention!! I will totally do this and share it on my blog!

  21. Great challenge!
    I believe i will do the same thing too starting today. My children are small (4 years and 14 mo old) and i spend more time trying to find activities to engage them than being with them.
    They say it takes 21 days to start a habit and this one looks a good habit to me.
    Count me in

  22. I’m in! I think the children in my daycare would love for me to play with them. I’m so glad I’m not the only one that doesn’t play. I feel guilty about it a lot. Thanks for the challenge, just what I need.

  23. Thanks for the challenge. I have been feeling like this is something I need to do lately, too. One of my kids favorite things we did a long time ago was when I asked each one of them what they wanted to do for 20-30 minute and me and their siblings did it, with no complaints. Then it was the next siblings turn. I will definitely do this!

  24. This is a wonderful idea. I know my 2 daughters, 12 and 10 will love it. But my 14 year old son may not be so willing to participate.

  25. I will join you. What a wonderful challenge. I always wanted to play with my girls but procrastinate because of all the more “worthwhile” and necessary things I need to do in the house. They are only little for so long…

  26. I’m in! I do the same thing, put out stuff for my son, make things, but then don’t actively take part in “playing”…and I feel guilty about it all the time!

  27. wow, what an great idea…i’m in..would love to record the reaction on my 4 daughters faces when I start doing it today..will be pricless

  28. i am so in! as long as it is outside so i can sneak in some sun, too, hehe! ok, ok i’ll do it no matter what, gees.

  29. I’m in with you! :D I’m the watcher, the creator, but not the participator. That definitely needs to change! :)

  30. Yes, I will be participating. I must burn off the winter weight. :) My girls will love having me play with then at the playground.

  31. Count me in! I have a 22-month-old who could reeeeeeally use some extra attention while her 3-month-old sister is asleep!

  32. I am completely on board! Every so often I stop and think about how much I have been playing with or just sitting there, its an eye opener that’s for sure!

  33. I’m in. I am the same way: great at coming up with activities and carrying them out, but sitting down and doing what they want, when they want me to….sigh. Been thinking about this a lot lately. Thanks for the nudge. :-)

  34. I’m in! I actually did this today with one of my kids today! So, yay that counts for today! This was very convicting and a wonderful reminder of what is really important!

  35. Jenae, my children are adults now (39 and 36) and not a day goes by that I don’t regret that I didn’t learn how to play with them. I was also content to have them be content playing while I watched. I simply didn’t know how to do it. I was much too serious. Congratulations on taking on the challenge to play with your children. Either way, they will be fine because you sound like an awesome mom. But, if you begin to play with them, I think YOU will reap the benefits. Play on!

  36. Thanks for the challenge… as an educator I do the same thing in facilitating instead of engaging. While I only had a few minutes in yesterday, I did play with the boys a bit today as as well. It was hard to deny the little eyes looking at me saying “mommy when are you going to play with us.” I was on my way to my computer at the time but turned around and played superheroes for a bit.

  37. I’m glad to know I’m not the only mom who isn’t great at playing with her kids. I give my 5 year old ideas for what to play etc, but I rarely play with her anymore. Seems like I get busy cleaning or fiddling with the computer. I’m up for the challenge!

  38. I so wish I COULD participate. I have exactly 6 weeks home before I start teaching again and unfortunately I will be able to play SOME with my kids but not always WITH them since I have a gazillion home and work projects to also get done in 6 weeks. I am going to try to intiate play everyday and play WITH them every other. I am excited to even be home with them so yay for that. The conversations we’ve had since I started summer break have been FANTASTIC! (It makes me sad that I am so busy during the year that I just miss talking to my children during the daytime. :/)

  39. This is a wonderful challenge! Like so many others have said, I find it so much easier to give them ideas or get them started with something, but not join in. I cringe when my daughter says, “Mom, you never play with us, you’re always working on the computer or something.” =(
    I don’t want them to remember me that way, and I don’t want to miss out on this fleeting time when they’re young — I’m in!!

    ~ Mara

  40. A few years back I was get on the floor and be the kid type with my children. Recently I have been slacking. I’m taking this challenge

  41. Before I became a mom, I worked in various daycare settings and taught preschool for 10 years. I LOVE to play with kids! The simple interactions made while putting together a puzzle or reading, or whatever we do really make a huge impact in kids’ lives! It builds their self confidence, too. I am now a SAHM and have a 2-1/2 yr old son. My husband and I get down on the floor and we play together everyday, several times a day. It comes natural for me. I think part of why I spend so much time with my son is because my mother wasn’t very present in my life growing up. She was a single mom for most of my childhood and I just remember her hardly ever playing with my sisters and I. In fact, she was hardly ever home. She was a teacher also, and sometimes her students would say “you have the coolest mom ever! I wish she was my mom!” but I think she gave all her attention to her school kids, and when she would come home she was done. I clearly remember her ALWAYS on the phone talking to her friends and boyfriends for hours and telling us to leave her alone. So, I think this is the reason I am so involved with my son everyday. I never want him to feel the way I felt growing up.

  42. Count me in! I’ve been slacking. The kids are almost out for the summer and I’m finding myself dreading it instead of enjoying it! I need to play with my kids. They won’t be little forever. Thanks for setting up this challenge.

  43. I’m totally onboard. What a great challenge! Looking forward to doing this. I really need to do this more.

  44. Great idea! I’m typically the type to facilitate as well. If my children are content playing or doing something I’ve arranged, I consider that the perfect opportunity to get some housework done! But nothing beats joining in for some Play-Doh sculpting.

  45. I’m in! I wish I had found this site at the beginning but my 30 days can start now & hopefully continue on to a daily event! I’d love to highlight this if you don’t mind as a reminder but also to share with everyone I know. I found you on Pinterest just today!

  46. Let me just say that it is SOOOO nice not to feel alone in this! I sometimes need that reminder. I am constantly convicted on this. I am happy to plan, organize fun things and LOVE watching my dh play with my girls but I am not a fan. Of course I am constanly keeping myself busy with stuff that MUST be done and I always feel like I have to do everything the moment I think of it. The Lord is constantly teaching me about my selfishness and I grew up thinking I was selfless. HA!
    I plan on taking this challenge.
    Thank you!!!

  47. A great challenge, and something that we already do.

    Hubby and I have been very hands on in Parker’s play since we brought him home. From playing with his hotwheels or coloring or playing pretend with his toys inside, or going outside for blowing bubbles, to drawing sidewalk chalk masterpieces, playing in the sandbox or playing “I’m gonna get you” in the park. I think he might actually be a little spoiled and might need to learn how to play alone. lol

  48. I am SO in! Although I used to teach preschool, “being a teacher” isn’t my issue anymore but like with most of us moms, we always have excuses. Mine currently is running a business from home with two kids (1&3) while hubby is gone from the home night & day 3-5 days a week. Thank you very much for sharing this!

  49. what a great thing, your kids will be blessed. I play with mine, but could certainly do a better job of playing with full attention to each one with their ideal activity. It is easier when they all want to play together. Most of the time they don’t. I feel like my time is often divided. I am excited about this challenge to play with full attention with my kids!

  50. What a very inspiring post – thank you so much for sharing. I have been telling myself that THIS will be the summer that I am more engaged, more hand-on with my kids. It’s amazing what just 30 minutes (or more!) per day can do. I know that your kids will remember and cherish all of your time together. Great job! :)

  51. I think this is a fantastic ‘challenge’! I’m a ‘facilitator’ as well so I am definitely in on this challenge!!

  52. Is there any possible way that I can get a list of the 30 day challenge activities so that I can start the challenge in July? I have just come across this and think this is the greatest idea ever. I plan on challenging my husband to do it as well. Our son will be 21 months on July 10th.

  53. Hello My name is Amanda and I have two awesome children and another who will arrive in Aug. I have struggled with this, I am sooo excited because I have lost all my ideas from when I was a pre school teacher:) Some things stay with you , but there is only so many times that you can do the same activity:) I find myself full of Ideas but so lack the energy to implament when I know its the right thing to do for my kids. This is giving me a renewed disire to get more involved, I am soo excited because I have begun the steps to turn this around for me and my kids:) I love the info I am finding and remembering the awesome activities I did with other children, I cannot wait to do them all with my kids:) Thank you sooooo very much:)

  54. I found ‘this’ on pinterest and it sparked my interest. I have a 19 month old toddler and I’m 4 months pregnant. I find myself to be ‘lazy’ lately and it makes me sad to think that I’m wasting these precious days to play with my son. So count me in!! I’m doing this starting TODAY!!

  55. I think it is awesome you want to spend more of the FUN time with your kids! I think there are a lot of activities we love to do as adults that with a little time and patience we can easily teach our kids how to do. I grew up snowboarding, backpacking, and surfing with my Dad and brother’s and would never trade my upbringing. Kids are in the best shape they will ever be in with endless amounts on energy and they can keep up with us!!!

  56. Funny…I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling guilty. I actually started to do this 2 weeks ago. Tried to do 1 activity with my 2 year old, still haven’t figured out how to do this with my 7 year old. She is super active and is always out on her bike. Maybe I’ll hop on mine and go on a ride with her. Thanks for the challenge…it’s always better when you got someone to do it with.

  57. I am a teacher so I am always planning and facilitating play. I have off this summer and I am going to ENJOY my kids and find my JOY doing it. Count me in :)

  58. This challenge almost made me cry. So exciting. My husband and I are in too! I will spread the words with my friends. Thanks for this wonderful idea!

  59. I do this on the daily!! And I’m sure thats why my daughter is so attached to me over her father who sits and watches tv.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *