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When you are thinking about your summer time plans in southwest Ohio, it is tempting to pencil in a few big ticket items like Kings Island, a couple Dayton Dragons games, and a few visits to watch the Reds, and call it a day.

Some parents might even go further, and schedule time at camps for sports, to support their religious beliefs and values, and to even catch up from or get ahead in their academics.

This structured time is good for kids, because it helps them understand the value of their time, and how intentional learning can help them build strength and skills.

But kids also need unstructured play time to develop their sense of curiosity, playfulness, problem-solving, and cooperative playing skills.

A splash park provides unstructured play opportunities

When structuring your child’s summer, you will naturally have some unstructured time with friends and family around your house or theirs. These are chances for kids to meet new friends, explore their boundaries, and step outside to meet the world on their own terms.

But when you always do that from home, you might be structuring too much.

You see, the reality is that from the time our kids are born, we should be helping them work safely and intentionally toward the time they can thrive while they are away from us. That time is inevitable, and it is far better for it to happen when they are ready, instead of when neither of you expect it.

So as parents we must learn to provide unstructured play time within safe boundaries.

The big questions are answered. We know where they are, generally. We know who they are with, basically. We can, with some effort, even see them from here. But we don’t have to actively monitor them the whole time. They know where we are, and when they get tired or hungry, you can be they will be able to use their skills to come and find us.

If you were at a typical park filled with individual rides and experiences, they might spend half their day in lines. And so would you!

Where is the fun in that?

So give your kids a safe but less structured summer experience this year when you bring them to the Land of Illusion Aqua Adventures Splash Park!

Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

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