Summer Work at Play

Summer is here!

 When my kids were in grade school, this transition was always much-anticipated and occasionally dreaded as we settled into the summer routines. As much as I would love to confirm suspicions that we super structured in our summer months, prepare to be disappointed. I'm not that mom. Nor do I knock those who are/were.

 Don't misinterpret the message though - we definitely had structure. It was simply much less rigid than the 9-5 of the regular school year. I miss those days every now and then. And when I get the privilege of entertaining my nieces and nephews, they get a taste of Aunt Kate's version of loose structure. We build synapses, one giggle at a time.


 I'm a big fan of play as work. Just ask Dr. Russel Barkley. He backs up my  "play is important" philosophy. In fact, play is a critical component of executive function. What better way to create room for growth and development than to craft activities that are so enjoyable that you don't even realize there is important developmental work that piggybacks on the fun? I'm talking baking, cooking, shopping, make-believe games, mud pies, hide and seek, crafting, puzzles and board games, trying new activities like rock climbing or learning how to climb silks like a Cirque performer…even learning how to play new instruments. All of these help build executive functions. They involve planning and goal setting from several angles, and when the activity itself sparks an interest, success is more likely to occur - new synapses abound! Building on strengths and success through fun? What could be better!?!

So, parents, while you are out there learning things and churning out your work output, why not let the kiddos explore in ways that light up that pre-frontal cortex? Still stumped? Feel free to download my idea sheet for executive function skills built through play. Have fun this summer!

 Download the SKILL SHEET HERE.