3 Reasons To Let Your Kids Free-Range This Summer


I just got back to Boston after a month in Buenos Aires, and it was kind of a rough landing. I don’t just mean the plane bounced several  times and the pilot won a round of applause for not careening us all into a fiery death, though that happened.

I mean suddenly we’ve all been transplanted into this wonderful place we live in and love, but are out of sync with.

So I let the kids run feral all afternoon while I worked. Which was just like unpacking, but different.

In my inbox, there’s this great essay by Sarah Maizes over at HybridMom, on the virtues of letting your kids frolic. The praises of free play really can’t be sung enough, so in honor of our free-for-all afternoon, here are three great reasons to let the little ones play. 

  1. Because it’s good for you! Turns out, all that time kids “waste” noodling about doing inexplicable things with rubber bands and acorns is the intellectual equivalent of eating your veggies. Free play boosts kids academic performance, raises their creativity and gets them the physical exercise they so badly need.
  2. Happier kids. Unlike eating a pile of veggies, free play makes kids happy. You’ll have less bickering, more social skills and better moods from kids who get plenty of time to just do their own thing. Think back to your own childhood. What are your brightest moments? Odds are they were spent doing something entirely unstructured.
  3. Happier parents. Free-range kids have free-range parents. Free to read a book. Free to drink a beer with a friend on the front porch. Free to write a sonnet or dig in a garden or build a bicycle. Not only do you get happier, healthier, more creative kids, you get to be a happier, healthier more creative parent.

Photo: Pink Sherbert Photography