These days it seems children’s schedule are full. They spend the day studying, running from activity to activity, and finally sit down to read assigned material. There’s simply not the hours of free time children had in the past. But kids need free time.
Kids Need Free Time
1. Time to be bored
Kids need free time in their lives. They need time to be bored, to be listless, to wonder what in the world they can do. It’s this time, this free time, that allows them to discover new interests and pick up a new book. Time kids spend bored is time kids discover just who they are.
2. Explore Hobbies
Free time is the one opportunity children have to try out new hobbies. They can play with build model kits, try to fly a kite, or even go fishing. Often a passing hobby in a child will gradually grow into a passion before turning into a lifelong interest. You never know, that passing hobby of building model airplanes may turn into an engineering degree.
3. Chase the Ants
One of my sons become fascinated by ants when he was eight. All summer he was crawling in the grass. He watched the ants find food. He followed the ants back to their nests. While studying ants has never turned into a lifelong interest or passion, he can still rattle on about ants for hours. Which leads me into the next reason children need free time.
4. Develop Curiosity
These hours of bored free time are when children have the opportunity to discover interests they never would have tried otherwise. They’re laying in the grass and an ant come wandering by. They’re watching the clouds and wonder what a cloud is made of. Curiosity is born of these bored moments when your mind begins to ponder, what if.
5. Read Books
While some kids are practically born with a book in their hand are legitimately called bookworms, other kids would rather do almost anything else except read a book. Free time, this blessed time of boredom, gives children the impetus to pick up a book and thumb through it’s pages. You never know when a bookworm will be born from a few moments of dull inactivity.
By the same notion, there’s been many times I’ve seen my bored kids pick up a piece of paper to jot a note, draw a picture, or begin a journal. Writers begin by using their free time to write stories. They develop a love of words. The next thing you know you have a child writing the next American novel.
My kids come begging me to let them cook when they get bored. Suddenly they want to bake cookies, whip up some brownies, or decorate a cake. Letting your children have some free open time will add inches to your waistline if you’re not careful. They’ll be baking up a storm in your kitchen.
8. Build Models
Many kids enjoy building models during their free time. You can build models of cars, planes, and trains. There’s also the option of building models of the Earth and moon or the Sydney Opera House. These models also encourage kids to develop a sense of who they are and what they’re interested in.
9. Play with Legos
One of my kids favorite activities in the world is to play with Legos. We have quite the family bin these days and that’s not including all the personal sets of Legos we have floating around the house. It’s amazing what kids can build. They build houses, spaceships, dragons, and dinosaurs. I never assign my kids time to play with Legos though. It’s always something that has to wait for a few minutes of free time.
Some of the best answers to life’s big questions have come while people are sitting around doing nothing. Have you tried it recently? You sit, contemplate the world, and come up with creative solutions no one has ever thought of. The same goes for kids. They sit, contemplate, and slowly learn about themselves and the world around them.
Give your children the gift of free time and your children will discover the world.
Do you believe kids need free time?