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The benefits of Camp Boredom

August 9, 2011

This summer, I have looked forward to each time my children have complained about being bored. I smile and respond, “that is fabulous! Now is your chance to find something to do!” They sulk away and eventually find a creative way to pass the time. Their favorite way to meet the challenge is to play with sticks in the back yard — turning them into magic wands, guns, or a giant bird nest.

Are you looking for ways to spend the last precious weeks of summer? I came across this delightful post that advocates for inviting your children to take part in Camp Boredom.

Please read the full post at Our Lives, Our Stories (http://www.ourlivesourstories.com).

Our beautiful children need to be bored, for it is within boredom that we become inventive. Creativity is not exercised or possible under adult-led enrichment. The riches of childhood lie along the banks of creeks, in the sound of frogs in a pond, in a Dixie cup of tadpoles. The music of childhood is in the breeze through the trees, in that long, high buzz of the invisible beetle, in the rambling pretend dialogue between a dirty plastic dinosaur and a doll whose hair has recently been chopped off by the kitchen scissors that our kids aren’t supposed to play with. The magic of childhood can be found by pushing over a log to find “roly poly bugs” and centipedes and worms.

I think part of the problem is that in our current culture, spaces of time are something that need to be filled. We are so used to constantly be doing something that we have forgotten how to simply be. To lay on the grass and stare up at the shape-shifting clouds and find an animal. Or to sit down in the middle of a mess in the living room and read the paper and drink a cup of tea.

And we are unwittingly handing this problem to our kids, along with their packed lunches, as we drop them off at their next organized activity. It’s not that organized activities are bad. It’s just that they are squeezing out that most important activity for children–unstructured play. Idling, moodling, inventive, creative, meditative play. The landscape of their imaginations is so vast, so rich and full, but we no longer trust it. Is it because we, ourselves, don’t know what to do with downtime, so we assume our children don’t? Or are we teaching them the madness that has become our lives, where we rush off, across town, to get to our mediation classes so we can feel justified to sit down and do nothing. But even then, most of the time we are just concerned we aren’t even doing that right. We ask our gurus, “So, do I just sit and breath? What happens if a thought enters my mind?”

Please click here to read the rest of the post. Hope your kids enjoy the opportunity to visit Camp Boredom!

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