Unstructured Play Time (and how it works for us!)

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This post is sponsored by GoGo squeeZ® and SheKnows Media.

When GoGo squeeZ reached out to me earlier this summer to chat about their ideas for “be time” (aka unstructured play time) it spoke straight to my parenting heart. Ever since my boys were born, we’ve encouraged unstructured play time and a whole lot of it.

Over the years, they’ve picked up many hobbies that they might have never discovered without unstructured play time. “Be time” gives the perfect name to our brand of parenting.

Talking about Unstructured Play Time in my house of boys - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Allowing my boys an abundance of free time to play indoors and outdoors has helped them discover so many interests that they may have never found otherwise. My oldest son, Sam, has discovered a love of running, reading, and learning as much as possible through both books and experience.

Along the way, he’s taught himself to play the guitar, too, something that likely wouldn’t have happened if his music time had been overly structured.

Talking about Unstructured Play Time in my house of boys - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

My middle son, Ben, loves board games and is forever building things with scraps and parts he finds in the house and outdoors. He and his youngest brother are often found building their latest creations in the backyard.

He has been known to diagram his entire creation before he begins the actual building project.

Talking about Unstructured Play Time in my house of boys - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Ben and his younger brother Nate are both rock collectors and they love finding cool new rocks when we travel. Nate is the lover of all things insect or creepy crawly.

He is also the builder that his brothers never were and he will spend an entire day working on a single new creation once he has the idea in mind.

Talking about Unstructured Play Time in my house of boys - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Ben and Nate will happily spend an entire day exploring outdoors anytime we head out camping. There were many days this summer, during our crazy long road trip when we barely saw them.

I don’t think they’ve ever been happier.

Talking about Unstructured Play Time in my house of boys - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

My younger two were the kids who put “duct tape, pool noodles, pvc pipe” on their Christmas lists last year. For the record, pool noodles aren’t the easiest to track down in December and when you’re at Home Depot and you mention that your kid asked for “pvc pipe and duct tape” for Christmas, you might get some crazy looks.

However, with that giant assortment of random supplies, the kids have made armor, swords, staffs, and more. They’ve spent hundreds of hours on the back porch creating and playing.

Talking about Unstructured Play Time in my house of boys - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

In fostering their independence through an abundance of free time, we’ve also tried to teach them the value of making food choices that both taste good and fuel their bodies with energy to help them make the most of their days.

Foods like cheese and crackers, fruits and vegetables, yogurts, and GoGo squeeZ® fruit pouches are excellent, ready to eat choices to have on hand. My boys know that they can help themselves to foods that are in the house whenever they are hungry and then get right back to whatever they were doing.

Talking about Unstructured Play Time in my house of boys - read more at barefeetinthekitchen.com

I love having these foods accessible in between meals. With three boys in the house, some days, it feels like they’re hungry all day long. It makes me smile to see them grabbing foods that will fuel their bodies well.

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with GoGo squeeZ to share my thoughts with you today. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Barefeet In The Kitchen possible. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Rebecca says

    I have always been a huge proponent of unstructured play time! I cannot think of a better way to help your kids learn to amuse themselves and help them discover their own talents! Also, WE LOVE GOGOSQUEEZE!!5 stars

  2. Anna says

    We do unstructured play time too and I just love watching my kids being creative. I am always amazed at what they come up with. My oldest is learning French on her own and both my girls are amazing at drawing animals and people. GoGoSqueeze is such a great healthy snack!