What if my children play all day?

What if my children play all day

and don’t do any work?

For children play is learning, even if it is not tangible or measurable or test worthy. If they are engaged in an activity then it is plausible that that activity is offering them something that they need and that they find personally engaging. When they move on to something else then the previous activity has served its current purpose and they are ready to explore something else.

Play is often talked about as if it were relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood

Fred Rogers

What if my children play all day

and don’t do any household chores?

Children don’t divide the world into work and play, chores and rest, school time and family time. All the time is play time and play consists of pairing up socks and pressing the buttons on the washing machine and playing with bubbles in the sink. When our household tasks become a playful part of the day then children are more likely to contribute with the things that they can.

What if my children play all day

and only spend their time doing one thing?

It is possible that our children will find an activity that they love to do more than any other, or have a few activities that they frequently rotate between. They will develop passions and special interests. They will build on their ever growing knowledge and skills in these areas and link this to other similar areas of interest. They will spend their time rehearsing the skills they need and revisiting the information they need and aspire to mastering this activity. Along the way they will begin to incorporate additional and complimentary skill sets. It may lead to a life long pursuit or professional standing but it is not a concern.

What if my children play all day

and make a mess?

In the course of our children’s play they will rearrange furniture and toys, they will paint walls and tables and leave clothes lying on the floor. They will splash water out of the bath and drop the pasta as they serve themselves. They will roll in mud and wade waist high fully clothed into lakes. Play is messy and adventurous.

Our role is to focus on the joy and what our children are trying to achieve, to redirect them, if they are in danger, calmly offer them alternatives or provide them with towels and clean clothes when their messy play comes to and end. We can lovingly tidy up if we feel that is necessary when our children are finished and invite them to join the process. Having children at home all day creates a messy home, make it a happy one filled with memories and laughter.

What if they were able to control how they spent their days?

We add value to our children’s choices by providing them with space and time and objects that enhance and extend their play. Through the conscious act of supporting our children in their own play we affirm their choices.

We can broaden their sphere by providing plenty of options for them to choose from and then we allow them to spend as much or as little time on each activity as they want.

And if my children are able to do this for the first 18 years of their lives and be engaged with things that are of personal value to them, and in the process be excited about learning and discover how to learn and what they are passionate about and how they learn best then I would consider that a good reason to let my children play all day.

Ultimately, if I want my children to enjoy childhood then I need to give them the opportunity to have a childhood that they will enjoy.

Read more

Play is…

What is true play based learning?

How to play

Published by heiditsteel

Teacher turned Unschooler: passionate about autonomous education and supporting our children's natural inclination towards learning through play.

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