We know this has been a challenging time, especially with parents working from home while helping their kids with school and helping with virtual therapy appointments. It is now easy. We want to say that you are all doing a great job. Make sure you take a moment for yourself occasionally, as well as acknowledge all the great things you are doing.
I know you have also found lots of activities to occupy your little ones, and we have created an activity round up post of all of our old posts divided up by age and activity type. This post is to talk about the benefits of unstructured play.
I’m probably going to make it sound as if it is structured by saying to find time each day for your kids to have unstructured play time. That means you don’t facilitate it, you let them play. You can provide toys or activities that they might be interested in (open ended play activities are the best for this in my opinion) and you can step in every once in a while but let them decide how to play. Maybe, like the photo above, they will find a pile of laundry and pretend it is a pile of leaves! That’s the best part, seeing what they come up with. If they say they are bored or don’t know how to do something, you can ask questions that can get them to come up with ideas (or offer options for them that aren’t as fun as play such as cleaning!). I guarantee they will get better at free play over time if it is not something they are used to. Just like everything else, it takes practice.
This is also great for infants. It gives them a chance to explore their movement and their body to understand how it all works together. If you are walking around and talking and going about life while they are having free time on the floor, it’s fun to see how they start to observe and watch for you and interact. I also recommend as they start to have some more movement to scatter toys in their ‘free play’ area so they are trying to look for them. You can assist by altering their position every once in a while if they aren’t able to themselves yet. For example, change it up from back to tummy or reverse. Check out this video below!
It’s important to make sure your kids are safe and to step in to soothe but give them some time to be creative with their play and see what they come up with!
Also, if you have multiple kids, you can give one kid free play time while you are helping the other, or have them play together.
I know this is challenging but we can find the positives in this situation and look for ways we can all grow together.
Here are some great toys for some open ended play:
We have also updated our Amazon Store and divided our lists up by ages and added to a lot of lists.