#ParentingWin: Simple Ways to Raise Happier, Healthier Kids
Kid-Powered Play
Kids all over the world want to play. It’s a natural impulse that helps them develop the skills they need to thrive — now and throughout their lives.

Play is particularly powerful when a child takes the lead, when their own interests drive an activity. That is, when adults guide without taking over or step back entirely.

You know it’s kid-powered play when your child is…

Having a good time

Exploring freely

Showing interest

Moving and thinking

Powers of Play

Play builds super skills that last a lifetime.

What It Looks Like

  • Taking responsible risks
  • Persisting when the going gets tough
  • Enjoying success and feeling pride

How You Support It

  • Model confidence (lead by example)
  • Let kids tackle frustrating situations
  • View mistakes as learning opportunities
What It Looks Like

  • Sense what to do and how to act
  • Tolerate confusing or unusual situations
  • Adapt to new circumstances

How You Support It

  • Realize children work hard to meet everyday expectations
  • Give them the credit they deserve for their effort
  • Avoid getting frustrated – you’ve had more practice than they have!
What It Looks Like

  • Challenging assumptions
  • Generating ideas
  • Seeing past limitations

How You Support It

  • Give kids time and space to pursue wild ideas
  • Enjoy the outcome AND delight in the process
  • View creativity as more than arts and crafts
What It Looks Like

  • Adjusting to others’ ideas
  • Showing compassion and sympathy
  • Valuing the contributions of others

How You Support It

  • Encourage children to take on other roles
  • Give them a chance to work through conflict
  • Model cooperative behavior
What It Looks Like

  • Engaging the core
  • Building endurance
  • Maintaining balance
  • Moving with precision

How You Support It

  • Provide time and space for physical activity
  • Cheer on bold attempts
  • Embrace repetition – roll with it!
What It Looks Like

  • Asking questions
  • Testing ideas
  • Making adjustments
  • Drawing conclusions

How You Support It

  • Talk, talk, talk! Spur conversations
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Guide without taking over
What It Looks Like

  • Using language to persuade
  • Inviting others in – listening and responding
  • Understanding what’s being said
  • Clearly expressing thoughts and opinions

How You Support It

  • Talk, read, sing! Use new and unexpected words
  • Ask open-ended questions to get past “yes” and “no” answers
  • Spark conversation: “Tell me about that time…” or “What if…”

Stay Informed

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10 West Seventh Street
St. Paul, MN 55102

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