Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Unstructured Play

After a lengthy, in-depth discussion I had on unstructured play, with friends, I think there were a few key points made that I would like to share.

1. Some children need to taught and or guided on How to Play
Not every child necessarily knows how to play creatively or imaginatively without help or guidance. Some parents need to actually sit down with their children and play legos with them and show them how to build bridges, buildings and towns before they actually go to do it on their own. A parent may also have to remove cushions from a sofa and make a fort so that the next time the child while mimic what they did or come up with their own creation (like my kid, who saw a slide instead of a fort.)

2. The less electronic distractions they are exposed to the more there imaginations can thrive.
Excessive use of TV, Computers, iphones, ipads, and video games, stunts the imaginations of our young children. These forms of entertainment are passive to the mind, and some offer a virtual reality. In these our kids are not playing outside with friends, or in backyards, or with their dolls, or with boxes, or with paints and play dough, electronic devices offer no outlet for the imagination to flourish.

3. As mom's sometimes we need to bite the bullet and just Play With Our Kids
As painful as that may be for some of us (I am speaking of myself), our kids want our attention, they want us to enter into their world if only for a little bit. And we need to be appreciative and respectful of their worlds' and of their creations and Be Children With Them as we once were: a time when everything was simple, fun, and hilarious. Our chores and responsibilities will always be there waiting for us no matter what we do unfortunately, but our children will only be children for such a short, precious amount of time.

4. These are the times that matter most.
Engaging them in unstructured play is the stuff that memories are made of. These young years are the times they will remember when they get older and play with their own children and recount stories of how "Mommy used to dress up as a fairy and sit in my princess tent with me even though she barely fit!" Everyday that goes by our kid's  imagination begins to dwindle by the vast amounts of information they receive at school, from the media, from friends etc. My own 4 year old daughter makes comments to me almost everyday on how, "That's not real mama, that's silly!" And I am saddened by how quickly she understands or realizes that certain things don't really exist or are not real.

As a child, after watching the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, I used to go into my closet to see if I could enter into some other world...that's what I want for my own kids, I want there lives to be magical, and mysterious and full of adventure before they realize otherwise.

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