It never ceases to make me smile when I hear delighted squeals and laughter from the playground all the way inside. As a preschool owner, I get to watch kids play a lot. My favorite time of the day is free play inside – when the teachers put all sorts of options out in the classroom and the kids get to choose. They construct towers, build farms for the animals to run around, or maybe they do a puzzle.
Regardless what they’re doing, you can be sure they’re creating stories in their minds as they go.
For example, that necklace Kristin’s making? It’s for her mom’s birthday. She’s going to get dressed up and go out to dinner with Daddy, so she needs a pretty necklace. When is Mom’s birthday? “I don’t know,” she shrugs. Indeed, giving Mommy the gift was never the point, was it? Kristin knows the toys stay at school, so she’s not actually planning on taking it home. Creativity naturally bubbles up. The story gives purpose to the play.
As kids get older, it seems play gets more structured.
Play dates are set up, extracurriculars are scheduled, and screen time is built into the day. Don’t get me wrong, none of these things are bad. Yet, I do feel it leaves less time for free play – or, as older kids might say, less time to be bored. Those times when kids figure out how to spend their time (not on a screen) is essential for creativity to naturally arise.
Nothing actually. Think about it. When a child is bored to tears, typically one of two things happen:
- he falls asleep (in which case he was probably really tired), or
- he starts daydreaming
And once daydreaming, the creative juices begin to flow. Stories – what ifs – start to fill his mind. He may be inspired to draw, to write a poem, or maybe try to build something new. In other words, he starts to play. Creativity naturally bubbles up.
I’d love to hear about a time a child in your life turned boredom into creative genius; or play into a great adventure. Send me an email to share!