I grew up with nothing to do but play. I was fortunate that my mother also liked to play. I learned at a very early age that play time was quality time. I also learned that I had enough imagination to be able to securely play by myself. I know I was not the only child in this world to love being sent to my room when I misbehaved because I was comfortable with my own company (not that I intentionally misbehaved).
Children learn through play. In fact, so do most adults! Everything is more fun while playing. Some of the games I played as a child taught me many ways to manage my adult life, although I didn’t realized it at the time. Take hopscotch for example. I learned how to balance on one foot (helped with learning to walk in high heels and climb a ladder), how to count forward and backward (balancing that checkbook), how to skip to a higher level (use my experience to bypass redundant training), and I learned spatial recognition (how hard I had to throw my shoe in order to stop one of my children from a more horrible fate, like sticking their fork into the toaster).
Every schoolyard game taught valuable life lessons. Think about the life lessons your children are learning. Is it merely how to grow a large backyard (sitting on the couch watching TV) or how to swing a mean thumb (playing video games all day). If you believe either one of those activities is teaching your children anything about life, they are going to live a very sad one. Children should be making mud pies, taking nature walks, going to museums and concerts, growing a garden, building towers with blocks, learning “red light, green light”. All of these and more are a great foundation for life!
Play with your children in everything you do. Make games out of daily chores and obligations. Not only will it relieve your own frustration and stress, your children will learn teamwork, imagination, creativity, and simple self-esteem at accomplishment. So, make time to play!