Do this one thing now for your kids and your mid-summer self will thank you

Do this one thing now for your kids and your mid-summer self will thank you

This is part 1 of 3 in a series of posts about simplicity and fostering independent play.

“Will you play with me?”

We’ve tried center-style busy boxes, we’ve got an awesome kanban activity tracker board. But my daughter still constantly asks me to play with her. And I’m emotionally exhausted from having to say no because I got stuff to do and, frankly, don’t want to spend more time in playland. I LOVE to watch her play. I do play with her sometimes (I love the structure of 10 minutes together). But I need her to play independently.

I’ve been inspired this week to dig into how to teach her to play independently instead of just continually saying “Go play!” I’m deepening my knowledge and I am excited to bring you the juiciest details of what I’m learning. This is my first order of attack.

The Time Capsule

Ok, it’s not a traditional Time Capsule but I can’t think of a better name. Basically you’re going to shelve some stuff to bring out later.

Here’s WHAT you’re going to do:

  1. Put away half of your kids’ toys. And then put away half again.
  2. Grab a container and make a sign that says OPEN ON JULY 1! Have your kids help you create the sign. In this container you’re going to put all the books, toys, models, STUFF, you don’t need but want to keep. 
  3. On July 1 (or whatever date you choose) you’ll open the container and be reunited with the stuff you couldn’t let go. More details to come at the end of June on what to do when you open the ‘time capsule’. (Click here to sign up to get my Friday email and you’ll get the details sent straight to your inbox!)

Seriously. Do it this weekend.


  • If it’s a daunting task, break it down into areas in the kid’s playroom/bedroom.
  • If you’re already pretty sparse on toys and stuff, let me know and I’ll help you pare it down even more. 
  • You can do this with your kids or without depending on their ages and temperaments. I’m going to do it with my kids but first with my older boys (who share a room) and then with my 4yo daughter. If you have a playroom and your kids are younger, feel free to pour a glass of wine and do it one night with a Netlfix or a podcast playing.

If you’re good with that, stop reading and get to work. It’ll pay off in the coming week and enormously in July. If you need some more direction on what to keep and what to let go, stay tuned for Part 2!

The content of this post was originally sent to the Ms. Mandy Poppins email list on Friday, May 21. To get the latest news and ideas delivered directly to your inbox, sign up here!

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