Friday Finds {10.08.2012}

Car race track

The hardest time is the gap between saying, “Go find something to do!” and them finding something to do. I don’t know about you but I’m so tempted to talk more and direct them.

We try and have unstructured downtime everyday. Not just  now, some random filling in time but planned to give a decent length of time to allow for creating ( and putting away or to the side).

This fine creation happened this week. I love the creativity of using the Fiddlestixand he played for a long while refining and building his racetrack.

I too had to find something to do and it worked. I said nothing.



Friday Finds is the place to unwind, grab yourself a comfy chair and reflect on your past week then plan for the upcoming one. With a little something to make you think, for them to do and for us to listen or watch……. We are putting ideas into action. Challenging ourselves to do a little differently. Be inspired.

Link up your posts  that fit one of these categories.

Enjoy your weekend!

Goodness for the mind: Raising Successful Children ::

Activities for the body: Over and Out!: 2 Great Obstacle Courses ::

Goodness for the eyes and ears: Why Duct Tape Parenting? What’s in a Name :: Parenting on Track

This week on Raising Playful Tots podcast::  Back to school for 5 year olds and under

If you enjoyed this article, get the Play Activities Newsletter. ( It’s free!)

You be the Daddy

I talk a lot about spending time with your kids in together activities because we often don’t do that enough. I try to show you activities you can try with your little one.

Whilst I write about together activities too much of one thing isn’t good for anybody either. Allow your kids to free play without interference as well.

You be the Daddy and I’ll be the mummy this time. Ok?

Take this so you know what to do. No Daddy doesn’t do that. Wait I’ll show you.

“Boys- it’s time for dinner. You have to clean up” ( said in a pretend gruff voice)

Ok Daddy. < Cleaning up>

Do you remember the stories, dress ups, props you would gather with your friends for your production?  How the story changed and evolved? You scrapped together ideas gleaned from books and your three collective imaginations. When was the last time you let your kids free play without direction or interruption?

I mean really let them play without you instructing them as well. Funnily enough you may have to teach how to do that by giving them short bursts of unstructured time if this is a new idea.

What’s unstructured time? Time where they get to choose their play. They follow an idea. They may involve you or be submersed in their own fantasy world.  Having a lot of free play to a structured family where every moment is accounted for will mean an adjustment for everyone.  They will say, ” I’m bored!” perhaps push a button or three because they don’t know what to do with themselves. But there will come a moment ……..really it does come, when they find something to do.

Then watch,  watch without them seeing if you can, how involved they get in that play.

Free play allows them to make sense of all the inputs they have been receiving via books, media, family & friends. Watching their play gives you an insight into how they are thinking, feeling, and what they believe. It gives them a chance to try out, discard and adapt ideas in a safe environment.

For the many reasons( lack of recess, rampant fear of strangers, abundance of screen time, more formal preschools and early elementary, parents passion for not letting their child loose out to the competition by driving excellence in everything too far) in 2009 kids are not getting enough time to express themselves in free play.

Free play isn’t a waste of time. So many things are happening within that time if we were to just let it.  I’m not an extremist so don’t advocate for allowing free play to get out of hand or remain unsupervised. Adjust for your family but don’t cut it out because of arbitrary reasons. But with the squeeze on free playtime so clearly evident I would encourage you to allow more time for this fundamental skill at home.

You may choose to promote this idea through centers of activity where they rotate through open ended activities; or read them a book under a sheet in the family room. Step away…………and allow them to free play.

Self motivation is a powerful tool to harness. An excellent way to promote growth in this area is through those three words, ” I’m bored!”

What free play have you overheard?

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