Young children need to run. They need to play. They need to cooperate. So how do we meet all these needs and still promote positive development in our kids?
Organized sports are OK.
They do teach cooperation. But they also lead to frustration (I’m not good enough) and they put a lot of pressure on our kids. Not necessarily to win, but rather just to go go go. Off to soccer. Do what the coach tells you. Then whisked away to swimming. Wait, that’s not how you kick your feet. It’s exhausting to an adult. Just think what it does to a child?
Unstructured play, on the other hand, promotes creativity.
Critical thinking is required to figure out how to get that rock under the water without falling into the creek. If more than one child is playing, cooperation just naturally occurs. They team up to solve a problem or create a specific “story” in their play.
I challenge you to watch and listen. Nothing else, just watch and listen. Go to one of the kids games. What do you see. Is there a lot of laughter? Are the children solving problems? How are they after the game? Tired? Unmotivated?
Now go out into nature. Do the same thing? What do you see? What conversations are you hearing? How relaxed are they on the way home?
Where would you rather be? Think about it.