Do you fill your child's days? Do you provide craft projects, activities, art classes, or sports to keep boredom away? To keep them learning? To enrich your child's capacity?
Finding projects to do with your children is simple. Time can be filled creating art, and making projects, with the an infinity of ideas for kids crafts, projects, and activities everywhere you look. A tour of your favorite websites, Pinterest, and magazines filled with craft projects, science experiments, and activities—or, the sway of other families enrolling their children in a schedule of sports practices, music lessons, and dance classes—tells us this modern practice of providing enrichment activities is best for children. And, if you don't do these projects you see, or enroll your child in as many activities as you wish you could, you may be feel like you should be.
So, you sift through pamphlets, flyers, and websites—the endless choices of swimming lessons, music lessons, art camp, and summer camps to keep your children busy and occupied.
To keep them not bored.
But, should you?
Protecting children from boredom or barring them from creativity? Allow children to be innovative in discovering their own means of play or exploration—instead of planning and scheduling their next activity for them. When you leave enough time for playful and explorative time—a creative and self-sufficient spirit develops. On their own, children discover play and activites more ingenious than ones you may have found for them (like our children's nature table play food). And, certainly the process they navigated to embark on the activity of their choosing is just as valuable as what they made or chose to do. Boredom invites inventive strength into a child's mind, it allows them to do their own planning, creating and thinking—
—Innovative, playful, explorative, creative, inventive are traits that are developed in this self-discovery. And, these are traits we want to nurture in children—traits that make leaders, creative thinkers, problem solvers, avant garde architects, esteemed engineers, creative writers—And, happy children.
Unscheduled time builds a stronger family too. Allowing your children time to nourish their own healthy growth of creativity and self-sufficiency has another bonus—stronger families.
Busy schedules are expensive. Classes, camps, and activities cost a lot of money. But, they cost so much more. They cost time away from family time, shuttling between activities. And, many times they cost parents more time at work to pay for more activities. A cycle that leaves even less time to spend with your family.
Families are busy and over-scheduled. Some have forgotten to leave enough time to enjoy each other and to nurture the simple joys that bring families happiness, not just busy-ness. Leaving time for do-nothing time together—to sit together, talk together, laugh together, remember together, read together, and eat together.
Those under-scheduled days are a support to the creative mind of a child, a strong family, and happiness for children and families.
The benefits of boredom and underscheduling
Backing up our under-scheduled family wisdom was easy to find. Praises for slowing down and embracing time for boredom came from this grown-up (and famous comic strip creator) who credits his childhood free from planned activities for his success in his career, from this mother who staved off boredom by providing activities to prevent it—discovering creativity abounded when she stopped, and Natural Life Magazine who shared—boredom can be the great motivator, a push to develop one’s inner resources and a tool for creativity.
Ways to embrace do-nothing moments
Our favorite way to spend do-nothing moments is in a hammock under a treehouse (photos above)—An embracing tangle of different size toes and legs all together. Laughter, talking, sharing of stories, telling moments of my own childhood, and reading books together. A hammock is an easy, quiet family place to create. Make a no-sew hammock out of a bed sheet like Outside Mom, or buy an inexpensive hammock.
If you have ever enjoyed family game night, you know the laughter, joy, and connectedness that can come during this play. The Enchanted Tree created this tic-tac-toe tree stump that allows for serene family time and connections outdoors—
Pinning image above? Please click image to link your pin to The Enchanted Tree, who has generously shared their image and this creative family time idea with us.
Mommy Labs shares a tranquil nature table and how it became a meditative place of solitude and connection for her family.
If you have ever known the joy of memories made in a handmade fort, you will find delight in this no-sew reading tent from East Coast Mommy.
Involve your children in everyday home tasks. Our young corn husking helper made her work into play in the art of work: making work into play: 5 ideas, where we share more about how unstructured time encourages creativity.
Happy Hooligans created a favorite backyard corner to cherish with family.
The Mama Scouts family enjoys quiet evenings watching the sun set over the ocean together and captures one of these moments with beautiful photography.
And, another one of our very favorite places to be together? Our outdoor natural playground in the limbs and under the canopy of our maple grove—a place of serene play, climbing, and reading together.
Hammocks, tic-tac-toe stumps, homemade tents, backyard corner, sunsets, outdoor couches, and natural playgrounds. Will you join us in un-scheduling your family in your own special place? ©heather cahoon • wordplayhouse®
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