The long, school-less days of summer can seem like the perfect time to schedule kids for lots of summer camps, classes, and activities. But have the kids been scheduled for any free, unstructured play time? On a recent blog on Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson points out that children need structured play – and even boredom – to foster their creativity.
Unstructured play time is just time outside, or even in the kid’s own room, in which the child can day-dream, imagine, and discover, and it’s far from a waste of anyone’s time. It fosters curiosity and imagination, two important parts of childhood development.
Of course, transitioning from full days of school to empty days of summer can be a big adjustment for young kids. Dr. Swanson provides some tips, including at least one ceiling-free hour every day (smog permitting); keeping dinner and bedtime routines consistent; and allowing for a few weeks of unscheduled time between summer camps and activities.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons from Flickr user mikebaird, edited by Alvesgaspar