Q&A: How to Promote Creative Free Play For Our Kids


Get creative outside in urban spaces ... Keep a box of sidewalk chalk in your bag and car, and give it to the kids whenever there's a sidewalk or black top around for creative free-play! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

What can we do as parents (and as a society) to protect and promote creative free play for our kids? Share your suggestions, ideas and questions:

  • Joshua M. Gannon-Salomon shares: “More wild spaces, especially within easy reach of inner cities.”
  • Laura Hoffman shares: “Send them outside!”
  • Andrew DeSiervo shares: “Get out of the way.”
  • Amy Sundari Finlay shares: “Skip the soccer? Not that it’s bad, but, at least in our town, it means DAILY practices in high school. Too much structured time!”
  • Marya Zilberberg shares: “Remember that sticker, Kill Your Television? Well, an update for the 21st century: Kill your screens!”
  • Pauline Delton shares: “See where and how they like to be creative and allow it. Might even mean some screen time. My 5 1/2 year old has an amazing capacity for creating landscapes and structures on Minecraft, but he also does it a ton with real-life blocks of all kinds. It’s a nice mixture of what he can do with materials in his hands and the amazing stuff he can create in his mind (that he couldn’t produce with his hands due to lack of materials). Game-creators are amazingly creative. I’m not a gamer myself, but I’ve been impressed. – For non-screen creativity, having craft supplies where they can be reached has helped us. Whatever I’m okay with him using is at his level, and he knows (as do his friends) where to go for those items. And, yea, we don’t do anything super structured. I think the most structured activity we have is getting together with a homeschooling group weekly…but those are pretty much free-play events. If he wanted something structured, so be it, but he hasn’t as of yet. – Joshua, so true! I was reading Last Child in the Woods and got really anxious about how I don’t know where we could go to climb a tree without someone (property owner, sanctuary volunteer, etc.) possibly reprimanding us or asking us to get down. Makes the world seem SOOOOO small.”
  • Janet McLaurin shares: “My kids started treasure boxes of things they found when they were little -I realized they were collecting shiny things that I thought were trash like bottle caps. Also encourage them to make their own trading cards-great characters and games come out of these -you don’t have to buy creativity for them- hang a clothes line for them out to their play structure and tie on a basket to send across.”
  • Shoshona King shares: “Independent Study (aka-homeschool).”
  • Swansea Benham Bleicher shares: “Have free unscheduled time at home!”

One Comment on “Q&A: How to Promote Creative Free Play For Our Kids

  1. Buy them hand drums, shakers, claves – and support their creative free going music play…..(not drum-set – which can be both louder and less mobile)……..engage in spontaneous family music making and dancing.

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