A friend shared a blog this morning about the importance of unstructured play by the Grass Stain Guru through this link. At first, the blog caught my eye, because the picture at the top reminded me of my visits to China. With that thought in the back of my mind, I read the blog and reflected on the difference between the way we are raising our children and the way the children in our rural foster care homes are being raised.
My children have toys, video games, and activities to fill their days….the children in our rural Chinese foster homes have very little toys bought at a store. I have often thought about how creative these children are in these homes, because even though they don’t have a lot of material things, they are always playing and laughing when I have visited. They are happy and I am in awe of their inventiveness. So many things become their play.
The author of this blog writes that “Unstructured play teaches creativity, independence, problem solving, communication skills, risk assessment, negotiation skills, a host of social concepts, and adaptability. The list goes on and on.”
So this has me thinking….are we doing our children a disservice with all we do for them? How do we change the way we are raising our children and slow down, so that there is more time for creative play? In the end, will the children who have so many “things”, so many activities, and so much structure, be ultimately less creative than a child that has had to invent more of their play?