WW 128: Sibling Love and Unstructured Play

One of the fascinating things about having five kids is observing who hangs out with whom. The composition can change rapidly as you find different kids — even of drastically different ages — bonding and playing then you had before.

Unstructured Play

Like many parents, we tend to strive to “pack” too much in. Yet as we aspire to have our kids do this and do that precious down-time and breathing room easily get left out of the equation. When everyone seems to be getting too worked up, one magical remedy (and I’m not a doctor) that seems to have help is unstructured play time. We’ve all read about the importance of play for younger kids but play remains important for pre-teens and teens as well. Kids of this age still need that environment in which they can pick what they want to do and explore the world with curiosity without feeling the pressure to perform.Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning. - Mr. Rogers

How important is unstructured play to you for your kids? Comment below and enter our weekly giveaway!

Our oldest Hedley is likely the busiest of our pack. An eighth grader, he’s often up late with homework and plays on two soccer teams. One recent Saturday, though, he found time to just go hang out with his little sister in her room. They ended up playing a game and starting their own club. Hedley and Marielle have what it takes to form what they called “the extremities club”: he’s the oldest, she’s the youngest, they both have the high foreheads of my Swedish family and each an intense personality.sibling lovefamily bondOver in my room Beckett had picked up and old pair of sunglasses and was trying out cool moves from his mother’s chair. Although not as busy as Hedley, Beckett is starting 5th grade and confronting a busier schedule and homework for the first time. A little down time did him some good too.unstructured play kids and playWhen you can, try to inject a bit of breathing room into your house. If you’re on a budget and going out to eat seems difficult, try taking a walk together or bringing a ball outside. If nothing else works, just plump down on the sofa together and watch something interesting and then discuss it over dinner.  It really doesn’t matter what you do or play, it’s that you’re together, bonding over something, and enjoying time with one another. This time strengthens families. All families encounter stress — patches of yelling, frustration and conflict. What gets you through these are the good times you putting into your family’s emotional “piggybank” so to speak.

Have a great rest of your weekend.


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Thanks for stopping by and make sure to check back for more! xo

  • Natalie

    Unstructured play time is crucial to kids development! Their creative side really develops with unstructured play.

    • Very true, Natalie! Play is vital!

  • Sarah Hayes

    we love to play! i wish schools did more of it

  • Becky Kinard

    Play is very important. It also helps to build good relationships between siblings.

    • Yep! Agreed, Becky! Thanks for reading!

  • shannon fowler

    I don’t have any little ones, but Ive worked with a lot of kids. Play really can help them master things.

  • Hurdler4eva

    This is something I learned while nannying – unstructured play is such an important and fun time for kids to develop, learn and grow.

  • cynthiac

    When I was in college training to be an educator I was taught that play is a child’s work. Lately I feel there is way too much emphasis on achievement and testing and play has been pushed aside as a waste of time. Not true!

    • Great point! Play is so important!

  • Kari Lorz

    I try to have time for unstructured play – but my little one is 23 months and immobile. So it’s hard for her to keep herself entertained sometimes. But I do try! We have a lot of fun in the bath, lots of toys and bubbles!

  • Julie Lundstrom

    These is some really good ideas for me to do for my son with Autism.

  • kathypease

    I remember years back when my brother and I were young..We fought a lot but we sure did protect one another 🙂

  • slehan

    Kids need play time and alone time and one-on-one time with the parents.
    Thanks for the contest.
    slehan at juno dot com

  • Ed

    Play fosters imagination and allows mastery of new ideas.

  • Mary Gardner

    I think children need as much unstructured play time as they can get. Children need to be allowed to be creative and allowed some freedom to make their own choices.