With school spring break coming up you’re probably wondering what the heck you’re going to do with your kids. Day camps and other planned activities are a great way to keep them busy and having fun, particularly if you’ll be at work. But what about when you do get that family time together? How can you make the most of it? What can you do to give your kids a fun experience that help them to learn and grow?
Cambridge psychologist Dr. David Whitehead says you might not have to do anything – but play. Free play.
Free or unstructured play is basically just letting your kids mess around doing whatever they think is fun. And this could be anything from building a fort from couch cushions, or playing Lego, to going outside to climb trees or horse around with the neighbourhood kids.
At the Telegraph, Dr. Whitebread talks about the importance of balance. While planned stuff has its value, unplanned play – play without a goal or agenda – has been scientifically proven to benefit kids’ mental strength, their social confidence, and their emotional well-being.
Also, it’s fun. And – interesting fact – kids who grow up in families that have fun are more likely to do better in school than kids with early reading abilities.
So, whether you’re giving them time to run around in the woods near your house without worrying too much about what they’re doing or when they’ll be back, or whether you’re diving into a spontaneous game of tube-sock football with them in the kitchen, remember that this kind of playtime is never wasted time.