It’s quite typical these days for kids to have their day, including play time, completely structured and planned out with timetables of classes and activities to follow. I have always struggled with this as I find it hard to have my girls’ day with timings for everything. Sometimes it is just better to let them be themselves and experiment on their own.
Having your kids day too structured stops them from developing their imagination. You would not believe how many wonderful things can happen after they are left alone to explore and be creative.
Most of us parents, also tend to fill our kids play time with TV, tablets and other gadgets. I have been guilty of this too, probably because of the amazing new technologies and lack of time we unfortunately have, its easy to get into the habit of allowing these devices to keep them entertained. I know it is not the best for our little ones.
I remember very clearly when I was little how things were so different. When I was about 4 years old, we used to live in the countryside not far from Lima, Peru. This place was surrounded by nature and beautiful areas to explore. I used to go out with my siblings and play for hours. Inventing games and allowing our imagination to wander! We were hardly bored. It seemed easy to create new ways of entertaining ourselves.
We should stop worrying too much when our little ones say “I’m bored” because if we let them explore new ways to entertain themselves, we know that some magical creativity can soon follow. Boredom is the precursor to creativity, innovation and specialisation. It is absolutely wonderful to let them be bored to encourage and benefit from free play!
A recent research by Play England defines free play as:
“…children choosing what they want to do, how they want to do it and when they want to stop and try something else. Free Play has no external goals set by adults and has no adult imposed curriculum. Although adults usually provide the space and resources for Free Play and might be involved, the child takes the lead and the adults respond to cues from the child.”
Giving children the freedom and space to play free is an essential part of their development, allowing them to learn about the world around them, developing essential social skills and fostering their physical and cognitive development.
That is why Petits Filous is encouraging kids to free play with their #PetitsFilousPlayFree campaign. They want to help champion free play and the benefits of it by encouraging parents to embrace it as part of their children’s day.
Embracing free unstructured play is critical for children’s development, tapping into their imagination and encouraging creative thinking. It helps their negotiation skills, teaches them cause and effect and helps with team playing. It’s essential for every child as well as fun and inspiring.
Happy Sienna enjoying some free play outdoors
To launch this campaign, Petits Filous is working with the prestigious Anita Cleare, parenting expert and co-founder of The Positive Parenting Project. She believes that Free Play is not just a nice-to-have activity but a positive priority for parents, critical for children’s development and under threat from our busy, technology-filled lives. Allowing children to Play Free allows us to celebrate the natural instinct of children to simply play, without the guilt of feeling you need to step in and help them do so.
The key feature of Free Play is that it is child-led and child-driven. That doesn’t mean that adults never join in, but that adults do not control the content or direction of Free Play. Free Play means letting kids get bored sometimes and allowing them to find their own solutions without reaching for gadgets such as tablets, smartphones or turning to the TV as a boredom filler.
The best environment for Free Play is where parents know their children are safe and where it’s ok to make a mess. Outdoor play and natural settings provide a sensory-rich environment for physical development and natural learning. Indoor pretend play fosters creativity, brain development and social skills. You can read further about how childhood pretend play builds critical skills for later years.
I would like my girls to be able to play like this and in some way bring back the way that I used to play with my siblings when I was a child! I think it is very important and we should all encourage it.
Petits Filous, the No 1 kids fromage frais brand in the UK, has been dedicated to child development in the UK for the last 30 years and now they are extending its focus from the functional benefits of its products, calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones, to the importance of Free Play for children’s development, encouraging parents and other caregivers to embrace it as a priority.
When our little ones come back from their free play, they always come back very hungry and the first thing they want is a snack. So, we as parents should have some healthy snacks at home to help with these moments. What better than a super healthy Petit Filous fromage frais to offer to our little ones? Or what about their pouches? Petits Filous pouches are a snack that can be kept out of the fridge for five hours and does not need a spoon. Fantastic, right? Each serving contains 50% (x2 small pots or x1 big pot) of the daily Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs).
Calcium is essential because it gives strength to bones and teeth. Since our bodies can’t make calcium, it is important that children get enough in their diet. Petits Filous provides your child with the goodness of calcium and vitamin D, for healthy bones. An easy way to meet kids’ calcium needs is by ensuring they get 3 portions of dairy a day. For example, a glass of milk, a piece of cheddar-type cheese and one small pot of Petits Filous fromage frais provides children with their daily calcium needs.
Sunshine is the main source of Vitamin D but it can be tough for kids to get enough sun, especially during the winter months. So children also need to obtain it through their diet. Few foods naturally contain Vitamin D but luckily some foods, such as Petits Filous fromage frais, are fortified with it. A recent Change4Life campaign launched by Public Health England recommends Petits Filous, with less than 100 calories per serving, as a healthy snack for kids
Over the next few weeks, we will be implementing the Let Them Be Bored Challenge at home with the support and advice of Anita. The goal is to be able to incorporate free play every day with our girls. Let’s hope we manage to do it correctly! I will come back in a couple of weeks with another blog post sharing our thoughts and experience. Hopefully, we will be able to share even more tips and ideas on how you can do the same.
If you would like to find out more about Petits Filous latest campaign, please visit their Facebook Page.
Are you scared of hearing “I’m bored!”? Do you let your kids get bored? Do you implement Free Play at home? Do you remember playing free as a child?
*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I’m working with Petits Filous and BritMums promoting the #PetitsFilousPlayFree campaign about the importance of free play.
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