The following list of games that encourage attachment for a variety of age levels has been recommended by one of our social workers. These activities have proven to be great suggestions for parents of children with RAD (reactive attachment disorder).
1. Play hide and seek. As an added bonus this also develops object permanence.
2. Paint each other's faces with paint, powder, make up, or just pretend.
3. Donut Dare. Hold a donut on your finger through the hole and have your child see how many bites they can take before it falls off. If you want to make this a bit healthier you could change the donut to a pineapple ring.
4. Put lotion on each other.
5. Play a memory game but with a more personal touch. First, have your child look you over very carefully. Then leave the room and return after you've changed something about yourself. See if s/he can figure out what is different. It could be something really obvious for younger kids, like taking off a sweater, but for older kids you could get more challenging, like buttoning one more button on the sweater.
6. Guess the Goodies! Put several small treats in a bag or cup. Then have your child closes his/her eyes. Finally, you pop a treat in your child's mouth and have him/her try to guess what it is.
7. Hold your child in your arms and dance. This is a very synchronous activity.
8. Play a tunnel activity kind of like London Bridge. Both parents start by kneeling on the floor to form a tunnel. Then have your child crawl through the tunnel as fast as s/he can before it collapses. During the first few times let him/her get completely through, then have it gently collapse onto your child.
9. Give a pillow ride! Have your child sit on a big floor pillow as you drag him/her around the room. Make sure to only move when given eye contact.
10. Play catch! Roll a ball back and forth to teach reciprocity. Throwing or batting a balloon back and forth may be easier than throwing a ball for little ones.
11. Engage in an M&M hockey rivalry. Use bendy straws and blow candy across table to the other person's goal. When one of you scores a goal, the opponent feeds that person candy.
12. Marshmallow fight! Each person uses a pillow as a shield. Sit on the floor and throw marshmallows at each other. This gets wild and crazy and is a lot of fun. You can do the same thing with crumpled paper if you don't have marshmallows handy.
13. Swim together.
14. Create a pillow jumping maze. Set up pillow islands in a pattern across the floor. Have your child start at one end while you are at the other. S/he can only start to cross the room when you say "go" (you could say "mo" or "lo" to make things more challenging and teach him/her to be more attentive). After given the green light, your child must jump across the islands and into your arms.
15. Adapt Lady and the Tramp with lifesavers on a licorice string. Loop a piece of shoestring licorice through a few gummy lifesavers. Put one end of licorice in your mouth and the other in your child's mouth (it helps to tie a knot so that it stays in your mouths better). Then, by standing up and maneuvering without hands, feed the lifesavers to each other.
We truly hope you have some fun with these activities while building attachment with your kids! All you need to do now is stock up on a few fun candies, dig out the old makeup, or just rearrange the pillows in your living room!
With a combined 275 years of experience, Children’s Home Society of Minnesota and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota serve children and families through adoption, child welfare, and family preservation. We are driven by the understanding that a child in a safe, nurturing home is a child who thrives. We work to give every child security, opportunity and a loving family. Through our partnership, we offer the following services to families nationwide. We encourage you to visit the Lutheran Social Service Rainbow Kids page to view additional country programs.