Sometimes I feel that I am not doing enough structured activity with my oldest daughter, who is almost 4 years old. I hear of children around me taking classes, going to preschool everyday and I fret like any parent: is my daughter missing something? What skills doesn't she know yet?
But then I remember the importance of free, creative play. I inherently know this is good for her, but until now I didn't know how good, and how supported by science the benefits are.
You've got to read this article from Scientific American. It details how allowing for creative free play actually develops your child's creative problem solving, social and language skills, and may prevent the likelihood of kids developing in to "anxious, socially maladjusted adults".
You've got to love Scientific American, too. They cite the animal studies to prove each point. This article is eye opening and affirming if you too, are trying to leave vast swaths of unstructured time in your child's day.
Some highlights (Cliff Note version): Read more...