That's all we can hope to do when setting an activity is invite them to play, you can not force them and you can not get cross at them when they don't attend your play event.
Like issuing a party invite, you set some things up, hold your breath and hope that at least one person will accept your invitation and the more join in the more of a party it is. Sometimes it takes seconds for them to accept your play invitation, sometimes minuets, hours even and sometimes they just don't feel like parting with those things they are far too busy with their own agendas.
I love it when they discover your invitations and its met with "wow" and "is this for me?" and an excited little wiggly bouncy jig at the delightful play possibilities ticking over in their minds.
It is frustrating and disparaging when they are met with "nah" and "can i watch TV instead" but i am slowly learning that this isn't personal and its not necessarily the end of the idea, perhaps if they have some food and a drink and a think about your invitation to play they will gravitate to it later when they are in the right frame of mind.
Sometimes the time of day is critical to the play invitation being accepted or not, mornings are always best for new play concepts where as i find late afternoon they prefer the tried and tested play invitations of play dough and water play. I also think my mood dictates weather some things work or not, if I'm tired its not a brilliant idea to encourage play that needs a bit of grown up help, however if I'm bright and sleep nourished its fine.
Its wonderful to read blogs and talk to other parents to get ideas for play invitations, you sometimes discover just the right thing to encourage your children and that is magical for you and the kids. Happy busy kids = happy busy parents, and when it all goes right and they are completely involved in their game i know those are the moments i will treasure all my days.
So some of the play invitations i have issued lately....
I arranged the duplo into coloured groups, major reaction from 4 yr old! "wow mum, i really like what you have done here." he requested this set up again today.
a lego city for Flynn's ninja's, who like to go for brekkie at cafes before they take on the evil guys :)
Coloured rice, a new activity for my boys, they both really liked this...so much so it is now spread all over my yard. That is fine with me they had a wonderful time transporting it all over the place and scooping, stirring.
I bet you offer lots of invitations to play at your place, may you be blessed with accepted invitations.