After the morning routine, the school routine and the homework routine, don’t forget to encourage an activity that requires no routine; play! Parents can help boost their children’s intelligence, creativity, innovation and sense of optimism through play.

Make playtime a priority, just like times set aside for homework and music lessons.

Don’t overschedule your child. An overwhelmed child is not a playful child.

Remember the object of play is to have fun and let loose, not brush up on math or reading skills.

Understand the power of imagination. Applaud your child’s fantasy world – and go along for a spin!

Lay out boxes, old dress-up clothes, measuring cups – whatever – and let your child’s creativity go to town. If your child wants you to join in, do it – but only if you are willing to play second fiddle.

Rough-and-tumble play like wrestling, while sometimes painful, is natural and necessary for kids to learn cooperation and fairness.

Video and electronic games are all around us. But so are trees and sunshine, sticks and rocks. Make sure your child sees plenty of them.

Be silly, be playful! Kids learn by example.

— Ann Hardie

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