Please note that this post was sponsored by GoGo squeeZ. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Free time – truly FREE play time is endangered! Children today are getting less than 30 minutes of unstructured play time and this impacts their physical, emotional and social wellbeing. Do you know how important play is for a child? Free play nourishes a child’s body, mind, senses and is food for their soul. Play encourages the development of so many crucial life skills. I am so excited to be collaborating with GoGo squeeZ to promote “BE Time,” the unstructured and self-directed time a child uses to nourish their imagination, creativity, bodies, and social connections. It is a time where kids can simply BE kids.
With swimming lessons, gymnastics, soccer practice, piano lessons and even a set bedtime routine, children these days have schedules that are packed to the brim. As parents, we want to offer our children the best and give them every opportunity that we are physically able to give them. With this busy and often times over scheduled lifestyle, children are losing important unstructured play time. Add on the ease of screen time and technology, children are often spending hours in front of the TV. Screen time is addicting for children. Science proves the that free play benefits all areas of a child’s development. Free play makes kids happier.
The Importance of Unstructured Play
What is unstructured play time aka “BE Time”?
Unstructured play time is also known as free play. It is just playing for the sake of having fun with no end objective. It is open ended child driven play. There should be no adult guidance as to what the child should be doing. (Although supervision is always required.)
Children need time to get bored. Yes, you read that right. Boredom has a purpose! I know.. this is the one thing you do not want to hear from your kids, “Mom! I’m bored…” But being bored encourages creative thinking. Children have to use their imagination to come up with something fun to do. They can become a superhero.. but wait… they need a flying machine. What could be a flying machine? YES! A laundry basket. Children will have to think out of the box. Does a child’s body need some motion? Then maybe they will want to feed their body with a bike ride.
Have your children ever rearranged those heavy dining room chairs into equal rows? Mine do! They love to be pilots and flying “airplanes” can be so much of fun. Not only do they have to think out of the box to create an airplane, they also work out their bodies and strengthen their arms too.
Scientists say that child’s play helps build a better brain. “The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain,” says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. “And without play experience, those neurons aren’t changed,” he says.
Playing on the monkey bars is far more beneficial than just monkeying around. Gripping the monkey bars strengthens a child’s wrists and hands. This develops fine motor skills that is used when holding a pencil.
Unstructured Play Benefits:
- Encourages creativity – Children come up with games using their imaginations. Who knew a box could turn into the most beautiful hat?
- Social benefits – They have to work together to come up with rules and then steer the game cooperatively when obstacles come up. When someone doesn’t like something in the game, if they want to carry on playing then they have to come up with solutions. Children will have to communicate proactively to keep the games and free play going. They have to learn about team-work.
- Children get physical activity – The value of unstructured play in early childhood is not only emotional and social, but also physical too.
- Development of critical thinking and problem solving skills
Unstructured play vs Structured play
Structured play has set rules with specific objectives. Free play is free of adult expectations. Where a child can just BE. It is where children play for the sake of having fun.
Here are some examples:
Structured Play Examples
- Board games
- Sports like soccer, gymnastics, basketball
- Playing with building blocks that includes instructions.
Unstructured Play Examples
- Role playing (pretending to be a doctor, police officer, pilot, etc.)
- Playing at the park
- Playing with blocks
- Playing with dolls and bears
- Using building blocks without instructions
- Coloring, drawing and painting on blank paper.
What are your thoughts?
Do you feel children are over scheduled? Do your children get more than 30 minutes of unstructured play time each day? Let me know your thoughts…
Take this GoGo squeeZ BE Time pledge with me. I pledge to ensure that my children get more unstructured play each day.
Going to the park is always a favorite for unstructured play. My children are always giggling and happy when spending an afternoon at the park. Sometimes they take sand buckets and shovels, other times their fingers provide an unusual sifter.
We love GoGo squeeZ food pouches for moments like these when we are on the go. They are such a time-saver for this multi-tasking mama. GoGo squeeZ makes delicious, healthy snacks for today’s modern life and gives kids the freedom to BE. I especially love that the pouches don’t need to be refrigerated. That means I can grab and go without needing to worry about keeping the snacks cool.
My children love that they don’t have to pause their activity when they are hungry. The convenient food pouches can be eaten on the fly! Whether your child is “flying” like superman or in the middle of “building a castle”.
GoGo squeeZ has 30+ flavors of food pouches and yogurts to appeal to children with different taste buds. My children especially love the AppleApple and AppleStrawberry pouches.
Check out GoGo SqueeZ below:
- GoGo SqueeZ on Facebook
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- GoGo SqueeZ on YouTube
- GoGo SqueeZ Website