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Jul 28

How To Help Your Kids Play Independently Right Now

by Meghan Fitzgerald

You don't need to “train” kids to play on their own, for long stretches...but they do get better and better at doing it with the right support from you! That's why we've created a video series called "Independent Play Training"—really, it's training for us to help us set up the conditions that help kids play on their own more and more. Here’s how.

Whether we’re trying to get things done around the house, join a work meeting, or just catch our breath, parents all need ways to keep our kids engaged during the day. And, it goes without saying, we’d love it if whatever keeps them busy also helps them learn and thrive. 

What’s the solution? Independent Play.

We’ve all seen glimpses of it. You notice it’s been quiet in the other room for a while, you peek in and your child is totally immersed and “in the flow” of play. And it’s magical. It’s in those moments that kids are doing their best learning. They are feeling happy. They are engaged in what’s interesting to them, and they are developing skills like persistence, creativity and problem-solving. That’s the good stuff—independent play.

What if you and your kids don’t just have to stumble into those magical moments, but you could actually make them happen every day? You don’t have to be a trained teacher to help your kids learn to play on their own. And, you don’t even need to have the ideas! You just may need some help to get started.

How? Independent Play Training! 

There are whole sections of the bookstore dedicated to “no-stress” sleep training and “quick and easy” potty-training, but most parents and caregivers don’t know that there’s a third skill that’s just as essential. Tinkergarten’s Independent Play Training video series will take you step-by-step through the process of getting kids ready to play on their own. 

Give Lesson 1—Setting Up a Space For Play a quick watch. Then, take 20 minutes and, using what you learned in the video, set up your own space for play. We guarantee you’ll get hours (if not days!) of independent play back.


Then, Watch Lesson 2—Inspiring Play Anytime, Anywhere. What we say and do to launch a play session really matters. Test out different approaches that help give kids an invitation to play that really works.

Wrap up with Lesson 3—What the Theater Can Teach Us About Parenting. What role we choose to take can make a big impact on how independently our kids play.

What next?

  • Sign up for our mailing list to get more content like this in your inbox!
  • Join our online Circle Time classes: 30-minute weekly sessions that inspire hours of joyful independent play.
  • Download our free Fall Family PLAYbook—a guide to thriving this fall.
  • Read more about how to set up play centers for your family, including a mud kitchen, art center or water playground. They work indoors, too!
  • See some play centers that families across the country have put together using just what they had on hand.
  • Get even more tips about how to support your kids at play independently.
  • Share this video with friends who could use some help with this, too! And, keep learning with us! 

Join our #OutdoorsAll4 Facebook Group to share even more ideas and support with parents around the world who are making purposeful outdoor play a key part of supporting their families.


Meghan Fitzgerald


After 20+ years as an educator, curriculum developer and school leader, Meghan has her dream gig—an entrepreneur/educator/mom who helps families everywhere, including hers, learn outside. Prior to Tinkergarten®, Meghan worked as an Elementary School Principal, a Math/Science Specialist & and a teacher in public and private schools in NY, MA and CA. She earned a BA with majors in English and Psychology at Amherst College, an MS in Educational Leadership at Bank Street College, and was trained to become a Forest School leader at Bridgwater College, UK. When she is with her kids, Meghan is that unapologetic mom who plays along with them in mud, dances in the pouring rain, and builds a darn good snow igloo with her bare hands.

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