#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

Parenting Poll: Question of the Day

Even if you’re running out of patience, remember that repetition has power. When kids repeat an activity, they’re building confidence and developing their bodies.


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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