Q&A: Community Conversation on Creative-Free Play Continues


In a recent interview with the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Dr. Susan Linn, founder of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, says, "This is the first time in history that, even during leisure time, we can no longer assume that children are engaging in active creative play. Creative play is no longer the norm, the norm is now that kids will be in front of a TV." - How does your family protect, promote and reserve time for creative free play? There are many challenges, and many great ideas too! Share yours! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Leading up to the Dr. Susan Linn’s visit last week for the Hilltown Families Community Conversation, The Importance of Creative Play in a Commercialized World with Dr. Susan Linn, we engaged our readers on the topic of creative free play by asking them about favorite toys, how to reserve time for creative free play, and how they feel they can protect and promote play for their kids.
We started off by asking our readers to share their child’s favorite toy and if they remembered a favorite toy they had from their own childhood.

  • Kara Kitchen wrote: Legos! Me and my kids!
  • Sienna Wildfield wrote: We have a large cedar chest filled with dress up clothes, costumes and accessories picked up at tag sales here and there that our daughter loves! And when I was a kid, my favorite “toy” was my bike!
  • Jess Kuttner wrote: Legos at our house too! When I was very young I had a couple of dolls that were more like companions and went along with a lot of imaginary play.
  • Martha Maloney wrote: My kids – wooden blocks, me, wooden blocks and a favorite doll I still have from so long ago..

After sharing favorite toys, we asked families if/how they are able to reserve time for creative free play for their kids, inviting readers to share strategies or challenges they experience with finding free time for their kids to play.

  • Jeanne Westcott shared: The problem is that when parents discover the benefits of play and expect their children to explore those benefits in daycare or preschool settings, they will be very disappointed. the majority of these necessary organizations are still using the empty slate concept and forced early learning is the norm….I got so sad I had to change careers.
  • Diane Hinze Kanzler shared: I have to say that the Early Learning Academy in Greenfield, where my child attended pre-school, had the best free play EVER. No complaints here.
  • Pauline Delton shared:  I have an only child, and we don’t have a lot of kids in our neighborhood with whom we’ve connected. We found a group of families who make a conscious effort to gather at least once a week (the common thread is that we homeschool, so we do… this on a weekday). It is amazing what kids will find to do when they have their imaginative little brains working together. We went to the dinosaur tracks last week… the adults were wondering how on Earth this trip would last more than 30 minutes, but we were there for over 2 hours! Parks, wildlife sanctuaries, arts and crafts, cooking, reading, puzzles are all great activities. The challenge for us is when we’re inside, but even when my son is playng with toys (like Legos), he’s being creative.
  • Margaret Betts shared: ‎10 years ago we got rid of our TV. It is amazing how insulated we are from commercial media, Q&A: Toys and Play: hteven with computers and other technology. I encourage all people to throw away your TVs!
  • Melissa Moody Belmonte shared: One of the main reasons we homeschool.
  • Swansea Benham Bleicher shared: Not having TV connection is key for us.

And last week for our Q&A column we shared reader responses to how parents can protect and promote creative free play for their kids.

Let’s continue this Community Conversation on creative free play!  Share your questions, comments, resources and suggestions in the comment field to continue the dialog.

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