When I decided to stay home with my girls, I started to look for fabulous ideas on how to structure their days. I scoured websites searching for learning opportunities and play dates and book readings to expand their horizons. Little did I realize that in order to make this happen, I had to be consistent. All day. Every day. Even Saturdays. Needless to say that went out the window fast. This is not to say that we don't have some structured activities, but they are more of a spontaneous nature now. Like if I don't know what to do to stop the whining, we have water play (which is in my bathtub but with no bath). Or if I find a full bottle of shaving cream we become "creative" and draw on the dining room table.
I started thinking back on when I was growing up and remembering what I did with my time when I wasn't in front of the tv. I grew up about a block away from a park and my friends and I spent hours there, playing, hiking, whatever we could find. In the winter it had killer hills for sledding. I remember all those times a heck of a lot more than what I used to watch on tv. So why wouldn't my girls be any different? Don't they have more fun when they can play uninhibited and use their imaginations?
So I moved all the toys upstairs, near their bedrooms. And I am allowed to sit on the couch with my computer if I so desire and watch my girls imagine. Sometimes I participate and sometimes I do other things. They tend to let me know which they prefer (for instance right now Sassy is yelling at me to play with her, and by yell I mean grunt at me and slam her head against my knee until she gets my attention).
Be right back.
Out of all the toys upstairs, I think their favorite toy is the crib mattress. When Mini-Me got her new bed, we were plus one crib mattress. We keep saying we are going to sell it but for now it has been in the great room on the floor. It has been used as a gym mat, a nap mat, a stair gate, a trampoline, and a reading place. So now I figure we will keep it until the girls get tired of it. Then I can use it for something else (I'm thinking window seat) or give it to someone who needs it. My point is, if we had gotten rid of it, it would have eliminated all these great playing opportunities. I'm not saying I'm going to keep everything but thankfully we had it and it has provided endless hours of fun! And in this family we are all about fun.
And naps. Naps are good too.
Sassy just handed me a box of raisins that were on the floor. I opened them and gave her some. Is that wrong?
I guess what I am saying is that it is okay to have unstructured fun time. I am even saying it is okay to have it more often than structured time. Kids are going to be so structured when they hit school and I think they are learning more this way. Mini-Me loves to pretend and she is teaching Sassy how to do it as well. And when the guilt starts (usually after I have spent too much time on Pinterest) I see how happy they are when they just get to play. And if they are happy then it just tickles me to death.