The One-Step Guide to Pure Play Parenting

Spoiler alert: It's way easier than you think.

By
Amanda Bindel, Toca Magazine Writer
Categories

Ever feel like you could add chauffeur to your resume? In these days of overscheduled kids, it’s not unusual for parents to shuffle kids from one activity to the next, over and over. Even tots are rushing from music class to gym class to scheduled Pinterest-inspired themed play dates. Such is modern-day parenting.

As parents, we want to give our kids the best — especially in these early developmental years — by offering our kids the most inspiring activities. But are we taking it too far?

As parents, we want to give our kids the best by offering the most inspiring activities. But are we taking it too far?

Play is essential to child development, and the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates free play, recommending in a January 2007 report that pediatricians “promote free play as a healthy, essential part of childhood” — independent, child-driven, unscheduled, unstructured play. In other words, Pure Play.

Through Pure Play, kids develop critical thinking skills as they solve problems on their own, and social skills as they negotiate play with others or use their imaginations to create situations. They try out different roles, learning about themselves and the world around them.

But when it comes to Pure Play, play for the sake of play, what should parents do? Mostly, they should stay out of the way. Kids are perfectly capable of directing their own play — exploring, pretending, creating — if we just get out of the way. They may utter the dreaded words, “I’m bored!” — and that’s great. Just as necessity is the mother of invention, boredom breeds creativity.

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