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Structured vs Unstructured play
nursingbug posted:
Ok, here is a question to shake things up.
A couple of months ago I considered sending my 3 yr old dd to a gymnastics class once a week. We trialed one, and while I liked the program, I did not sign her up. One reason was the kids seemed to stand in line for as much time as they spent being active. Two was the drive from our home was considerable. Three was that all the parents were sitting in the lobby, staring at their kids, not talking at all.
So I figured, maybe it would be better worth my time (and money) to take her to a local park and encourage her to be active by playing games that I played as a child, that way I can get in some activity too.

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Chris Tiongson, MD responded:
When my kids were younger, they were involved in ~ a class a week. With the climate up here in the Dakotas we need some indoor activity during the long, long winter.

My daughter loved her preschool dance class and that has subsequently become her favorite activity. She's been dancing for about 10 yrs now and as a 9th grader this fall she will be on the high school JV dance team.

My son was in a preschool gymnastics class, just to get him moving. He enjoyed the jumping and tumbling, but has moved on to other sports.

For my son it was just some active playtime, but my daughter was introduced to her life's passion. She wants to open a dance studio and teach dance to kids after she graduates from college. She has plans to minor in dance and major in business. It's funny to think that it all started with that one dance class.

So, yeah, I can see it both ways. Unstructured play may allow more creativity and spontaneity and involves the parent, but sometimes it takes a class to focus or channel a young child's interest.
nursingbug replied to Chris Tiongson, MD's response:
That is really cool about your daughter- I wish I had taken dance as a child.
I am going to rethink the class for the winter, I am in Missouri and at times the weather can really interfere with activity.
I do think some kind of class or sport is important at some point. I played softball and volleyball and even though I was not competitive they really helped my self esteem. My father in law is a black belt in tae kwan do and I always thought that would be a great thing, since they teach respect and self awareness along with activity.
What scares me is kids that are in so many activites that they burn out, or don't know how to play on their own when they have a little free time.

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