Ignore our adult created concept that kids need scheduled activities. It’s not true. It’s not how kids learn.
How to Raise a Happy, Creative, and Smart Child
Kids actually learn by playing! (See links below to the decades of scientific research proving this.)
So . . . what are you supposed to do again?
Let kids play.
I know – this seems weird when our culture is offering enticing alternatives with technology and pre-programmed classes. I’m not saying that those are bad, but I really, really want you to know that you don’t need to do them.
“A child who plays thoroughly and perseveringly, until physical fatigue forbids, will be a determined adult, capable of self-sacrifice both for his own welfare and that of others.” – Friedrich Froebel
Pledge to Play (Unplugged) 1 Hour a Day
Since April is Earth Month, why not recommit your family to unplugged play? Start by pledging to play for one hour every day for the entire month of April. (Feel free to do more, of course!)
WIN TOYS! And, if you show Green Toys how you’re spending an hour of fun with #PledgeToPlay, you’ll be entered for a chance to win their toy chest full of 100% play. Enter here: http://woobox.com/qo3tnz.
How does this work exactly?
You don’t have to do much. Kids need simplicity. They need:
Kids need time to play. If you’ve pledged to give them an hour, do that. Or do more. Lots and lots of time is good! IF and WHEN a child gets “bored” with his play, you can inspire more with the tips below.
Green Toys are a great toy option since they’re 100% environmentally friendly with no glue, no screws, no paint, and no batteries! But you can use non-toy props for play as well: kitchen supplies, nature, empty boxes, dress-up clothes, recycled objects, and so on.
What does play look like?
Your daughter sitting in the sandbox or wet dirt playing with trucks, dolls, sticks, leaves, or measuring cups.
She’s LEARNING: physics, gravity, math, saturation, and fine motor skills.
What does play sound like?
Your son speaking to real or pretend customers as if he were a chef, taking food orders and preparing amazing concoctions. (One of my daughters loved serving us lemonade-coffee and sand pie. Yum!)
He’s LEARNING: social skills, self-regulation, manners, self expression, measurement, and fine motor skills.
What does play feel like?
Mostly play time feels happy and playful! But sometimes your kids will get frustrated, mad, or bored. All feelings are important and welcome. (Of course, some behaviors are not as welcome as others.)
What they’re LEARNING: solving conflicts, self-regulation, language skills, social skills, resiliency, independence, consequences, risk, and conquering fears.
Tips to Keep Your Child Playing
Step into your child’s play for a few moments and get the momentum back.
- Add in another prop or toy.
What would happen if this dinosaur / rocket ship / ballerina arrived? What if a storm (hose / watering can) rained all over everything?
- Add in a new story line.
When we were playing with the Green Toys boat, I shared how I used to ride ferries and that we could drive our cars on the ferry to an island where our family friends owned peacocks. Right away this inspired a new direction of play.
When my little friend saw that the Green Toys dump truck could hold the cupcakes, he made it a delivery truck for cupcakes!
- Share new, related words related.
Did you know that the word for a person who fixes cars is mechanic? OR A person who cooks cupcakes is called a baker. Do you want to be the baker today?
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It’s a happy talent to know how to play.”
The good thing? Kids already have this talent!
So join your eco-friendly friends at Green Toys and me as we pledge to play. Show Green Toys how you’re spending an hour of fun with #PledgeToPlay for a chance to win their toy chest full of 100% play. http://woobox.com/qo3tnz #greentoys #earthday #playunplugged #giveaway
Play Research for Further Reading:
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!