Summer is a season to relax, have fun, and be with your kids—a lot. This is good, but we know it can be tough to have them home 24/7 with the stress of trying to plan activities to keep them occupied.
Let’s get one thing straight: Your job is not to be the ultimate source of entertainment, fun, and energy for your kids. Instead of feeling the guilt when it comes to planning trips, activities, and playing with your kids constantly, we want to encourage you to let them make their own fun. Here are some ideas on how to keep your summer simple.
Free play. In today’s society, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for kids to be okay with entertaining themselves—and it isn’t all their fault, it’s today’s culture. But rest assured, because free play is actually proven to be extremely healthy for kids, as it strengthens their relational bonds with other kids and it develops their creativity and imagination. It also enhances their emotional and cognitive growth.
An article found on The Atlantic
discusses the topic of free play. The author studied schedules and play habits of 70 different six year olds and focused on how much time each spent in “structured play” vs. “unstructured play.” They found that “children who engage in more free play have more highly developed self-directed executive function.”
They described executive function as “a broad term for cognitive skills such as organization, long-term planning, self-regulation, task initiation, and the ability to switch between activities.”
So, all of that to say, don't feel guilty. Free play is honestly the best summer activity for kids.
Trips to the library. On days where you might need to just get out of the house, a trip to the library is very practical and pretty simple. It may even encourage your kids to get excited about books!
Outdoor time. It’s extremely healthy for their mind, body, and spirit! Being outside gives them a chance to burn their energy, to yell, to be loud, and to run around. And the best part is, you can sit and read a book as long as they’ll let you. ;)
Play dates. Once again, staying cooped up at home all day isn’t always life giving. Plan play dates with other moms now and then. Not only is this usually a simple entertainment option, but it might end up being something you really need, too.
Down time. For days when the weather isn’t ideal, coloring is always a good option. Popping in a movie now and then isn’t so bad, either!
We believe in simple fun that doesn’t create stress for you. We hope this helps you say no to guilt and yes to free play and a minimalist summer. I’m sure your kiddos will have nothing but fond memories of their childhood play time no matter what it consists of… So, for your own heart and mind, keeping your summer simple is a wonderful route to take!
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