The Joy of Unstructured Play Time

Hi awesome mommies!

As I sit here writing, I can hear Abigail and Christian’s laughter. I honestly don’t know what they’re doing. Something naughty? Definitely possible. Whatever it is, they’re having fun. And the best part is, it’s fun they created.

Part of the awesomeness of summer is our flexible schedule. We don’t have to bust out of bed early to push straight to work on our homeschool schedule. They don’t have to rush through lunch to get back to that exciting topic of math in the afternoon, then do chores, then help make dinner…

Summer flows with restful relaxation, a slower pace, and less scheduled activities. Love it!

The trick for me is remembering to keep it simple. I have a tendency to fill up their day with my version of ultra-productive, mind-stimulating, brilliant-kid-producing activities. (I’m not a control freak or anything.) I’m tempted to give them projects or worksheets or, best of all, lists! How much do I love lists (especially with little boxes to mark off)?

But I’ve read here and other places that unstructured play “promotes intellectual and cognitive growth, emotional intelligence, and benefits social interactions.” They also say giving the little darlings a chance to go hog wild with their play encourages problem-solving skills and creative thinking.

So I try, especially in the summer, to restrain my controlling self and just let them create their own play.

I just went down to check on my wee ones’ activity. What were they doing, all on their own? Well, the paints were scattered on the table along with half-finished masterpieces. “Mom!” Christian said as he ran up to me. “Do you know where a straw is? We want to use it to paint. We like to paint with weird stuff.”

There you have it. They didn’t need my structured schedule to use their little brains for good. They did it all on their own.

And the sound of their laughter, the excitement in their eyes, and the pride in their creations makes it more than worth it!

What do you think about letting your kids do their own thing? Good idea? Bad idea? I’d love to hear.

Have a great day and keep loving your kids like there’s no tomorrow.


Ocieanna Fleiss is a wife and mom of four, living in the Pacific Northwest. She has co-written three novels: Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, MT, LFY in Victory Heights, WA, and Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, AK. Find more of her mommy encouragement at and look for writing tips at Seriously Write. She’s also on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Ocieanna Fleiss