Published by L.A. Parent Magazine

I have great memories of friends coming over after school. We would play in my room, play outside, and of course have snack!  As I got older, I remember how important it became to have those friends around when we had to study together, attend school events or dances, or even wish one another a great summer as one of us would travel or visit relatives.

Preschool is the opportune time for our children to learn how to be a friend and how to make friends. Being kind and a good friend is very important in these early years. There is lots of time to play with friends, have “play dates” attend birthday parties and preschool activities.

In elementary school, things get much busier. Homework, sports, dance classes, piano, karate, and more…I remember when a friend of mine moved here from Quebec, her children would go outside to play and couldn’t find anyone to play with. There were a ton of families on the street and until she finally realized they were all at after school activities did she decide to make sure she didn’t over schedule her own children. “Activities? Yes, she said, but every day?” Her experience has stayed with me for years.

My younger son, who is in first grade, has a few afterschool activities. We just started basketball and he loves it. But the highlight of his week occurs on Wednesdays. Wednesdays is the day that one, two or three friends from school are invited over to come play. Word has spread and the number of children waiting to come play is quite something.  It is one of my favorite days of the week too. The laughs, ease, joy, and spontaneity remind me of when I was their age.

Open ended play is extremely important as our children get older. If anything, I see that it is even more important now. They play ball outside, run, ..and the laughs! That truly is the best part.

Spring is here! It is the perfect time to invite friends over to play. Outside, inside, whatever you can do. You will help create great opportunities for your children to develop lasting and meaningful friendships.

With gratitude,
Lauren Perelmuter
Art To Grow On Children’s Art Center, Inc.
(310) 625-6028