Among the many things we want for our children is the opportunity to develop – and pursue – their passion(s).
This could be in the form of music, sports, art, dance, reading, writing or any other endeavor that captures their hearts and minds.
But these passions don’t develop suddenly…they often start out as hunches, almost accidentally found through “messing around”.
Loose, unstructured time and natural play give children the opportunity to explore their interests and curiosities. Like all of us, our children tend to like doing the things they are good at. But getting good at anything takes time, practice and exploration. As parents, we can encourage our kids to follow anything they have enthusiasm for. (Within reason, of course!) Summertime provides endless opportunities to play and experiment.
Children definitely learn from structured activities that involve adult guidance; they also learn from generating their own ideas and gathering whatever stuff they need (glue, paper, random household objects) to create the projects they think up.
Because we live in a highly-scheduled culture, our children often struggle when faced with downtime. If your child is stalled with how to entertain him/herself, try:
- Setting out his/her favorite craft materials/sport equipment/musical instruments on a table and then let your child come up with ideas on what to do. Sometimes looking at stuff gives them ideas!
- Plan play dates for your child and let the two children decide what to do. Be around to supervise, but let them choose how to occupy their time. Self-discovery can also come from organic social interaction: ideas and interests mix when two minds join.
- If your child is still stuck, ask about his/her curiosities and “hunches”…interests and passions often start as wonderings. The ideas are incomplete and need further exploration.
What may end up becoming your child’s greatest passion is often the sum of tiny decisions. Passions don’t arrive in a flash…they drift in. Without the right opportunities, they may never know what their talents are. And those right opportunities may be found during those “boring” summer days.