Sometimes taking a break from our schedules can be beneficial, especially for children. Most children need structure in their daily lives and parents try hard to provide stability. While many parents want to keep their children busy in after-school activities and organizations, letting your child have some free-play time may also benefit their health and development. Check out these 6 benefits of letting your child free-play:

  1. Builds creativity- Keeping your child’s afternoon open means she will have to come up with an activity on her own. Free play encourages your child to get creative and maybe even invent her own game.
  2. Develops motor planning- Free-play time teaches your child how to create and carry out plans and ideas. Unstructured play may also teach him how to deal with cancelled or changed plans by showing him that he doesn’t necessarily need scheduled playdates and activities.
  3. Helps teach decision making- Unstructured play allows your child to tune his decision making skills. Offering a small bit of independence with his daily schedule will help him learn to make choices on his own.
  4. Helps teach independence- Allowing free play time lets your child think independently. Unstructured play will give her a chance to learn to entertain herself. Maybe that means heading down the street to a friend’s when she has free play time rather than expecting you to tell her what to do next.
  5. Helps teach social and collaborative skills- Whether it’s skipping down the street to ring a friend’s doorbell, or joining a game of kickball in the cul-de-sac, free play time allows your child to adapt to group situations and learn conflict resolution skills.
  6. Gives opportunity to develop interests and skills- If your child has every minute of his schedule planned out, he may not get to explore things he finds interesting. Free play allows him to maybe try out his skills on the tennis court rather than the soccer field!

Next time you have an afternoon open, let your child determine what they want to do. Encourage them to get active and outside to enjoy the summer weather!

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