Structured activities for and with your child can be fun . . . some of the time. For example, it might be fun for you and your child to enjoy an art, gymnastics, or Kindermusik class. Just be sure to balance structured activities within the context of your already busy life.

For example, if a structured activity causes a good deal of stress or is offered only at a time that is inconvenient for you, it might be healthier to do something with your child at home. Bake something together, play a game, or share a bike ride rather than feel you need to race home to pick up your child to hurry off to the self-imposed requirement of an organized activity.

Sometimes your child will give you a tip. If your child resists going to an activity, it may not be worth it. Just because an activity is supposed to be “enriching” doesn’t mean that it is a match for your child’s needs and interests. Fun activities should not feel like chores.

So many ways are available for creating your own special activities together . . . activities that will provide something enriching while being fun for you and your child. Trips to museums, parks, zoos, Audubon centers, and theaters as well as the many projects that can be created at home with art materials, music, and gardens can provide teachable moments for your child without “cramming in” another structured activity outside the home. A day has only twenty-four hours in it, so choose consciously for the benefit of yourself and your child.

Structured and free-form play both contribute significantly to your child’s development.