A flow activity station is a place where children and/or grown-ups can spend an extended period of time with an activity they love. Home flow statios can have highly beneficial effects on your child and the atmosphere in your home. Many power struggles may disappear because in this place your child can feel powerful. Clinging may diminish because your child will feel at home. Whining and boredom may decrease because they will have interesting options to pursue on their own. Children need places where they can be the creators of their own reality, where they can pretend, build, craft, play, tinker, and talk to themselves as they wish. When a child has regular access to flow stations, they can settle down and venture into their own world. As a result, they almost always become happier, more relaxed, more accessible, and more collaborative.
An extensive body of research confirms that unstructured, free, spontaneous play is extremely beneficial for children and crucial to their healthy brain development. During flow, children establish emotional, mental, and behavioral patterns that support their mental health throughout life. For instance, let’s look at simple, flow-friendly activities such as building a block tower or knitting a scarf. While creating something tangible, children develop skills that are crucial to mental health such as self-motivation, resilience, and positive self-talk. They experience themselves as genuine learners; they learn how to learn. The activity gives constant feedback on what is working and what is not, so they learn to quickly adapt to changes and the requirements of a situation; they learn flexibility. They learn what it takes to reach a goal; they learn self-discipline. They learn to do something meaningful for themselves and they learn what it means to be autonomous. They learn that mistakes are part of every process. Self-chosen activities call them back to try again; they learn patience and perseverance.
Hands-on and whole-body experiences help children create a healthy identity, and over time, find meaning and purpose in their lives. In flow, they get closer to finding out who they naturally are and who they want to be. Flow provides opportunities to discover what motivates them to be active and what fuels their life energy. On the go, children discover their innate talents and preferences; they experience what nourishes their spirit, and, eventually, what kind of contribution to society might come naturally to them. As you bring more flow experiences into a child’s life, you will witness how they become increasingly intelligent, not just intellectually, but as a well-rounded personality.
There is something about a fulfilling activity that calms our nervous systems at any age; it is a feeling that we are in the right place at the right time. In flow, we are doing something meaningful to us that renders us more capable, more confident, and more energized.
As a parent, you can prepare the safe, inspiring spaces for your child to play and learn in flow. Stay close with loving attention until your child is happily busy with their own activity, in their own world. You will find that amidst the complex dynamics of relationships between the generations there is the sweet simplicity of moments in which a grown-up and a child enjoy doing something side by side.