Friday, September 4, 2009

Free Time

People who study kids often debate whether today's children need more structured time, or less. Are they too busy? Meals on the run? Constant rounds of soccer, music lessons, dance, soccer, scouts, band and a little more soccer?

But, if kids DO get more free time, what will they do with it? Watch TV, play Guitar Hero for hours on end, eat junk food and go to movies with their friends?

How about a third alternative? What about "high-quality, unstructured play"? I read that phrase today in an article on this topic.

Well, here's what I found my girls doing today, during their free time:
Julia is writing (another) diary. She's been studying ancient Egypt in school, and she's interested in this idea of archeologists digging up artifacts thousands of years later. She wants to leave something for an archeologist to discover. So she's writing a diary, to bury in the back yard! She wrote today, curled up in the halltree.

Anna is making a lap quilt. For reasons that I won't disclose, I will NOT allow her to use my sewing machine at this stage in life, so she's sewing the entire thing, BY HAND. And loving every minute of it.

High-quality unstructured play. I'd rather they did this than for me to enroll them in writing courses or quilting classes.

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