Free Play For Toddlers

Sometimes during day time when I have to attend to email or other matters that require my attention, I resort to letting my son play on his own. At times I do feel guilty of not joining him in his play, but I know he has to learn that Mama has work to do and he has to be independent, be self-directed and self-sufficient.

Fortunately I am not a rigid person when it comes to neatness. Some days I can live and sleep in the same room with the mess of toys you see above. And of course in order to instill some value of neatness and tidiness (I don’t want his wife to blame me for bringing up another messy man into this world), I will ask my son to clean up the toys from the floor (which could only last for 1-2 days the most)..haha!

Taken from

For children 12-36 months old, current National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) guidelines recommend this much daily activity:

*at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity (adult-led)
*at least 60 minutes unstructured physical activity (free play)

As a general rule, toddlers shouldn’t be inactive for more than 1 hour at a time, except for sleeping. That’s a lot of work for parents and caregivers, but a lot of much-needed activity for toddlers.

I am sharing this bit taken from

In today’s overscheduled society, it seems we’ve forgotten that children can and do learn on their own, and they can do it through play. After all, we’ve progressed from one end of the spectrum to the other – from the days of carefree, unstructured play to carefully scheduling, organizing, and managing children’s every game. If we hadn’t experienced the former ourselves, we might not believe such a lifestyle ever existed – that children really managed without constant adult intervention. But they did. We did.

Because we lay around and imagined creatures in the clouds, we now have the imagination to prepare a meal from a refrigerator full of leftovers. Because we mastered turning cartwheels and climbing trees, we have the confidence to tackle tennis or technology. We invented games when there was nobody to play with and learned resourcefulness and how to handle solitude. We invented games with our friends, creating and re-creating the rules, and learned the fine arts of sharing, cooperation, conflict resolution, negotiation and perspective taking. Because the lives of today’s children are so structured, and because I’ve seen free play disappearing from the landscape of childhood, I worry that today’s children have too few opportunities to acquire these important life skills.

So parents, let your children play freely.

One comment

  1. MQ, I agree, so agree. Once a while, we should just let them play on their own and we will be surprised to see their imagination run wild (in a good way).


    May I share this entry?

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