It’s the kind of play that rolls with the punches, is fun for two kids with a seven year age gap, and builds creativity as well as a relationship that is built on their terms–and therefore, much more likely to last.
(Free play is defined as play that is unstructured, unscheduled, and unscripted. It is that ‘raw’ play that occurs naturally when you get children together (although kids can engage in free play on their own as well) and evolves and morphs quickly and often without even a murmur from anyone.)
When kids create their own rules they learn an amazing amount of things such as compromise, empathy, communication skills, social skills, how to adapt play part way through a ‘game,’ and much more. These skills help develop their brain in ways that will serve them well later in life such as when it comes to problem solving, conflict resolution, working with others, and creativity. For example, did you know that farm kids generally make better engineers? Know why? Because they are used to having to find unorthodox (‘outside of the box’) solutions to the problems they encounter on the farm. Over time, they have developed a patient and creative approach that serves them well in the field of engineering. And it all starts with free play.
Are you giving your kids the opportunity and time they need to engage in free play? What can you do to encourage more free play?
I’m right there with you,