With our current environment dictating social distancing, that means many of us are home with our families including kids and partners and by now, some of us might be aching for a bit of "social distancing" from each other...just for a bit. Being together with my family might be my greatest joy in life, but if there aren't appropriate boundaries then the togetherness can become suffucating, leaving me feeling drained. How do we, when we're locked in our homes together, give each other some space? Have you ever said to your kids "Go play outside!" and they either went outside for 5 minutes before coming back to raid the kitchen you just finished cleaning? Or they say "I don't want to go outside, it's boring!". Maybe outside is boring, when the environment doesn't invite them to play. What if you changed the environment so it could inspire hours of play?
In a previous blog post titled "Let the Kids Play", I highlighted some reason that independent outdoor play helps with social/emotional development and academic success. Sending the kids outside to play is a win/win situation. Not only is it an essential and healthy part of child development, it also grants the adults in the home their much needed independent time to do all the things needed from conducting work conference calls absent of screaming children to focusing on one single thought uninterrupted.
Setting the environment for independent play is a simple as identifying everyday objects, or "loose parts" the kids can play with creatively. Loose parts are materials with no fixed purpose that can be moved around and manipulated by children and used in many different ways. Make a few of those loose parts available for play and the kids imaginations will take it from there.