Invitation to Play
Do you know this routine?
You: "Want to draw?"
You: "Want to do puzzles?"
You: "Want to build with Legos?"
The antidote is an invitation to play. This is a fancy early childhood education phrase that basically means, take out and set up materials before kids arrive on the scene so when they do they'll pounce on them and play away. (Works especially well if you don't say much.)
Here's what happened when I set out musical instruments in an appealing way during nap.
Check out the inspiring invitations to play on pinterest. So many great ideas for using simple, creative materials to get kids using their imaginations, strengthening small motor skills, developing literacy, experimenting with scientific principles, and more.
But if all you remember to do is quietly take something out and set it up, I bet the kids'll pounce on it and play away.