David Elkind's 2007 book, The Power of Play, was incredibly perspective-shifting for some parents engaging their children in activities. The renowned child psychologist that argues modern society's value on constant advancement leads us to engage our children by presenting activities deemed "productive." While school and sports are incredibly important, the main message of the book was to emphasize the importance of playing without any end goal. The importance of creative, imaginative, explorative play, whether that be exploring nature or making art, is highlighted throughout many research findings and case studies.
Electronics usage can also put a damper on children's play, which was stressed even in this book, written over a decade and a half ago. While there is no harm in having characters to base play off of, computer games and videos take away all of the agency and creativity from the child. Furthermore, electronics can be incredibly addicting, and if all of a child's play is spent on an electronic device, there is still not room for growth or exploration.
Savor your last moments of summer before the hustle and bustle of school, and make sure your student has as much time to play as possible. Encourage free thinking and creativity, connect your kids with nature, art, and imagination! Once the school year starts, a healthy dose of imagination is necessary as well. For parents as well – playing and having fun disconnected to any sense of achievement and accomplishment is an act of self care, and something I think we could all use a bit more of in our lives.