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Friday, August 15, 2014

Unstructured play

Yesterday I was looking at a parenting magazine and was amazed that probably 90% of the content concerned entertaining kids and filling kids lives with mother-created activities and projects.  There was one article about sex and another about sibling rivalry but not much else.  Is this what parenting has become?

Is it in our children's best interests to focus on entertainment?  Who are those cute crafts really for, Mom or the kids?  Sure, they look great but maybe our kids would get more out of making the craft themselves.  Or, maybe they might like to play with different materials without an end product in mind. 

Please don't misunderstand.  There is a place for well-planned out activities and outings.  But they should be the exception, not the rule.  Children need opportunities to create, not just copy or recreate something.  They need unstructured time to play and explore.  When Mom fills up their day with pre-planned activities, classes and excursions, children develop expectations that that's what life is all about.  They get bored easily.  They think they have to be entertained constantly.  Then, Mom gets exasperated and tells them to go out and play.  Funny thing though...they don't know how to play.  Sad.


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