Busy Isn’t Always Better When It Comes to Play (And other thoughts as we head into summer)

Written by Elisa

It is May - and that means summer is around the corner. You know, summer. That season when there’s no school, no schedule, and the days are longer. Summer has alway been about relishing this time whether it was by Sam Keen’s quote that said, “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability” or Jenny Han’s quote, “Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August”. But the reality is that we are pressured to fill our children’s summer with activities to keep them busy. And well, being busy isn’t always better - especially for your children and family during the summer. Remember that play time (especially unstructured play time) is important for our children and their development.

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In fact, it’s so important that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 31: States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts. While it is a natural inclination to want to structure their summer with camps, remember that a good vacation, with time to play, might be just as fun too. Here are some tips for creating space for play time - no camps, no drop-offs, or pick-ups.

Be a tourist in your backyard:

Do you have a tent? Or, in the warmer days of summer, you only might need a sleeping bag. If so, you’ve got enough to camp out for the evening and enjoy the stars (with the convenience of your kitchen and bathroom nearby). This allows your child to see your yard and house from a different viewpoint and to bond with the parent they do this with.

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Fun in the warm weather:

Want your kids to look back on summer and remember something you always did? You could simply buy water balloons and let them toss them around. Or invest in some very fun water toys (see Pottery Barn Kid’s here) to encourage them to play together and enjoy the warm weather.

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Growing summer fruits and vegetables:

What says summer more than fresh vegetables and fruit? Whether you have a small or large space, you could make it a tradition to get ready for summer by planting vegetables in the spring and seeing them grow in the summer. Gardening can become an annual tradition - and is something the family can do together.

Remember, to create a sense of fun and lasting memories, it isn’t always about being busy all the time or taking a big trip. Share other fun tips with us for close-to-home summer activities that encourage unstructured play and creativity for your children!


Elisa and her first child, Andy, are new to Little Wonders. When not at work, Elisa can be found with her husband and son - possibly hiking, walking around the neighborhood, or at a park with their dog. If she has any free time on top of that, you might find her swimming, baking, or reading.