Sunday, December 29, 2013

Constructively bored

I've been reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv while I've been home in the UK for Christmas with my children, and I've been discussing a lot of what I've been reading with my son.  Yesterday we were talking about how playing in natural spaces encourages creativity, when compared to playing in playgrounds.  My son agree with this and pointed out that when he was at the International School of Amsterdam there were several wild spaces outdoors including a pond and a small woodland area.  He agreed that some of the most creative children in his classes were drawn to these wild and natural areas.

We also talked about the way that boredom can force children to be creative - a distinction that Richard Louv terms being "constructively bored" as opposed to being "negatively numbed".  He claims that left to their own devices constructively bored kids will eventually turn to something to relieve the boredom - such as reading a book, building a fort, painting or using a computer art program and so on.  He encourages parents to nurture constructive boredom in the following ways:

  • a bored child needs to spend more time with a parent or other positive adult who can do things like take them to the library or for long walks
  • turn off the TV which provides huge amounts of audio and visual stimulation - let children generate these on their own
  • find a balance between adult direction and child boredom.  Too much supervision can kill constructive boredom and the creativity that comes with it.
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

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