The Art of Unstructured Play

Kids engaging in Unstructured Play

As a kid, I made “quicksand” out of dirt and hose water; I picked dandelions and made houses for roly-polies; I played “spy” with my brother and two neighbor boys. Little of this play was directly supervised, and none of it was directed by adults.

As an adult however, un-planned play time with kids leaves me with a deep anxiety. I worry that they will be bored. I’m terrified that they will be hurt. I hear myself reflexively cry out “Be careful!” and watch their every step.

I think, “I must be doing this wrong. Don’t kids need structure?”

But they probably need less regiment than I think. Despite my anxiety, kids thrive on unstructured play.

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