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Children’s Downtime: Opportunities for Creativity, Engagement, and Self-Discovery

keep activities appropriately challenging, and encourage kids to collaborate, share, and ask questions. Help children welcome downtime as exciting opportunities for creativity, engagement, and self-discovery!

Some parents are dismayed by the thought of children’s unstructured downtime, envisioning their kids staring at screens or complaining of boredom. Other parents prepare by scheduling or having at the ready a non-stop and full slate of activities designed to keep children’s bodies moving and brains engaged. Still, other parents try to find a middle ground where their kids have enough activities so their muscles and minds continue to work and grow, but with free time mixed in. That happy middle ground may well be where kids learn the joy of creativity, engagement, and self-discovery.

Increasingly, parents are recognizing the importance of imaginative play, exploration, collaboration, creative expression, and invention. Although there’s a place for technology in children’s lives, spending too much time immersed in computer games and on devices can be detrimental. It can encourage lazy habits of mind, where children come to rely on entertainment and activities created by others, instead of creating their own fun and discovering their interests.

What happens when kids are given enough free time to feel bored?

Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens. Dr. Foster has written countless articles, and several books—the most recent being Ignite Your Ideas: Creativity for Kids.

Insightful Reads For You

Best Times Ever!

Best Times Ever!

Discover ten different ways to facilitate fun—and then encourage your family to extend the ideas throughout the entire year. Find out how to maximize play, creativity, exploration, and joy now, and later.