It's Okay to Just Play
Most days all the kids and I do is play. Puzzles, dress-up, blocks, tea parties, ring around the rosie, hide and seek. Sometimes I feel guilty about that, like I should be providing more structured activities or taking them to the zoo more often. But the research shows that child-driven play is what kids need.
Wide open expanses of time to - just play. Play with toys that leave lots up to the imagination. Play outside. Play one on one with you. Or with a bunch of other kids where you can coach as they learn to take turns, share ideas, listen to each other and express their feelings. Build things. Dig. Solve problems without help. Be rowdy. Make up meandering story lines. Sprawl out on the floor with a whole mess of cars and legos and dinos. Feed a baby doll. Ride bikes.
When I ask adults their favorite memories from childhood, without fail they wistfully reminisce about playing with friends - until the streetlights came on. We all know it's the best part of being a kid. So there's no shame, and lots of wisdom in making space for it every day.