Here’s How to Get Your Kids to Play on Their Own (for Long Stretches!)

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Photo: Tinkergarten

Whether we’re trying to get things done around the house, join a work meeting, or just catch our breath, parents all need ways to keep our kids engaged during the day. And, it goes without saying, we’d love it if whatever keeps them busy also helps them learn and thrive.

What’s the Solution? Independent Play.

We’ve all seen glimpses of it. You notice it’s been quiet in the other room for a while, you peek in and your child is totally immersed and “in the flow” of play. And it’s magical. It’s in those moments that kids are doing their best learning. They are feeling happy. They are engaged in what’s interesting to them, and they are developing skills like persistencecreativity, and problem-solving. That’s the good stuff—independent play.

What if you and your kids don’t just have to stumble into those magical moments, but you could actually make them happen every day? You don’t have to be a trained teacher to help your kids learn to play on their own. And, you don’t even need to have the ideas! You just may need some help to get started.

How? Independent Play Training! 

There are whole sections of the bookstore dedicated to “no-stress” sleep training and “quick and easy” potty-training, but most parents and caregivers don’t know that there’s a third type of training that’s just as essential. Tinkergarten’s Independent Play Training video series will take you step-by-step through the process of getting kids ready to play on their own.

Watch: Lesson 1: Setting Up a Space For Play and see how you can set up the following play stations that will your kids to play independently like mud kitchens, art centers, and water playgrounds.

Then, take 20 minutes and, using what you learned in the video, set up your own space for play. We guarantee you’ll get hours (if not days!) of independent play in your life.

What next?

  • Read more about how to set up play centers for your family, including a mud kitchen, art center or water playground. They work indoors, too!
  • See some play centers that families across the country have put together using just what they had on hand.
This post originally appeared on Tinkergarten.