Thought of the day:
I think that some of children’s best, most positive, memories come from things that they come up with to do on their own, without adult participation or direction. It could be a craft, a game (even a board game that they play by themselves), or any activity that they dream up.
At present, my 5yo son is riding a “Big Wheel” through a loop that he discovered on his own. The loop goes through our garage, out the door, through a fence gate, and back in through the garage door. Clearly there is something imaginative going on, since he is talking to himself and is very intent on this activity.
If I were outside with him, even keeping to myself by reading the newspaper, he probably wouldn’t have come up with this idea. I think that the very presence of an adult can keep a child from fully exploring his/her imaginative protential.
I don’t advocate neglecting a child, and I believe that babies and younger children “need” more from adults than older children do. But all in all, it seems to me that a preschool-aged child benefits a great deal from having time to him/herself, with no direction or any kind of interference from adults.