As an adult, I can trace my greatest successes and most engaging hobbies to time I spent playing as a child. Why do children need play? Playing helps children experiment, test hypotheses, and process experiences. Through play, children learn how to focus, and they develop social and emotional intelligence. Today I’m sharing a few things we can do as parents to prioritize play in a busy world.
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Children Need Play! Learn How to Prioritize Play in a Busy World
I spent my early childhood playing on my grandfather’s corn farm. I was unschooled before unschooling was popular! Those years of unstructured time to explore the world transformed my life forever. My own children go to school, and I find myself carefully guarding their time to make sure they have the opportunity for unstructured play. Here are some ways we prioritize play:
- Thinking carefully before signing our children up for activities.
- Taking breaks from the activities we do sign up for.
- Scheduling at-home family down time.
- Prioritizing unstructured time outside every day.
- Investing in toys that promote open-ended play. For young children, I favor Magna-Tiles, Wooden blocks (try foam blocks if you have a child who throws everything), DUPLO bricks, Play-Doh (here’s a great homemade play dough recipe), and small figurines like these family counters and little bears.
I am a HUGE fan of parents playing with their children, but this comes more easily to some parents than others. Some children are also much better at setting up and initiating play than others. Some parents have lots of ideas of ways to play, while others struggle with knowing where to start. This is why resources like The Undeniable Power of Play are so valuable! Available as a Kindle ebook or in PDF format, this book features fabulous hands-on experiential learning activities for young children. I recommend picking the PDF format, since it can still be read on Kindle and there are printables at the end of the book.
Why would I recommend the structure of a book in a post about the importance of unstructured play? Resources like this get us un-stuck, and they are tremendously helpful for both parents and children who might not have that natural affinity for unstructured play.
The activities in this book use household items, and they are sure to engage any young child. They set the stage for play, without directing its outcome.
What are your favorite playful activities for children? Here are some that are always a hit with my kids!
What are your favorite playful activities for littles?
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