Friday, June 15, 2012

Is open play time a thing of the past?

A certain conversation I readily admit to eavesdropping on still results in my jaw dropping every time I think about it...a fellow mom seriously bragging that she had spent over $1,000 (that's right ONE THOUSAND BIG ONES) on summer activities for her...wait for it...3 year old.  Spanish camp, tennis camp, (my personal fav) pirate camp, music camp, soccer lessons, and I can't even remember what else.  Is it just me or is that absolutely insane??!!  Whatever happened to letting kids just PLAY???
I hope I don't come off sounding all high and mighty here.  I'm FAR from a perfect parent.  But, I do make a conscious effort to have as little structured play time as possible for my kids.  And for us that means playing outside, rain or shine, walking to the park, building forts in the family room, playing Legos, dress-up, tea parties (yes, Timmy loves a good tea party!), finger paint, baking cookies, play dates, reading, reading, and more reading, multiple camping trips, digging in the dirt, boredom (YES, I think kids need a certain amount of boredom!), and basically doing whatever silly little games my kiddos make up.  Obviously at this age, Gemma's idea of fun is largely following around big brother.  But let me tell you, Timmy's imagination is impressive.  I catch him all the time holding these crazy conversations with his Legos, dinosaurs, and trucks.  LOVE it.

Timmy does have one structured activity lined up for the summer: swim lessons.  The dude loves his swimming.

What our days won't include is every summer camp available, Spanish/French lessons, sports camps, and television.  (I readily admit this is all easier when one parent is a stay at home...having worked outside the home myself until Timmy was 2)  Is it horrible that I actually feel sorry for this lady's daughter?


  1. I totally agree with you. Let them play. If the poor child is off doing one structured activity after another, they will never figure out how to be creative and blossom into their perfect person. I have to force myself sometimes, but I like to let my child play ALONE (with me watching) and not just have me telling her how to play 24/7. Kids need a little space as much as they need a little structure. Moderation.

    I feel sorry for the kid, too. It makes me think of a show dog that never learns to play....

  2. It's all a part of that my kid's gotta be the best at everything syndrome!

  3. Totally agree. I was shocked even when looking at preschools, how many of them were solely academic-based, and not play. They are THREE for goodness sake! And they learn best through play. It's sad this is changing so much.

  4. Oh wow, yeah that's nuts!! lol. We did sign my 4 year for 2 weeks of VBS and 1 week of mini day camp, manly to give myself a little break :) and also get him prepared for preschool next year because he is with my 24/7(no daycare, no babysitters, ect)


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