Unstructured playtime encourages imagination and exploration, but by the tween years, kids are often occupied with organized activities and on-screen media, leaving less time to just play. So I'm intentional about creating environments where unstructured, creative play can emerge. I provide my tweens with a location, some simple items and at least an hour of playtime. Then I avoid the temptation to give instructions and, instead, just stand back. I'm always amazed at the creative power of young minds!
Want to help your tweens flex their creative muscles? Choose from this list to get started:
- an outdoor basketball court and Hot Wheels cars
- the living room, a pile of clothes destined for the thrift store, and a stopwatch
- a riverbank or pond and some spoons, bowls or rubber ducks
- a grassy spot, a friend and 57 hair barrettes
- a hammock and some toy airplanes
- a bathtub and a box of LEGOs
- a hill, a trowel and a bucket of water
- the lawn and a handful of plastic bugs
- five Styrofoam cups and a butter knife
- the yard, three Nerf swords and a package of balloons
- the deck, blank paper, tape and some pencils or crayons
- swings, a rope and three old stuffed animals
This article appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2014 by Kristen Joy Wilks. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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