I have probably been guilty as the wee man has been growing up of finding the need to fill every moment of his day. In some ways it was easier as the days went by quicker in others it made the day more stressful especially if we were stuck indoors. Getting him out and enjoying the fresh air will always be important to me and occupy some part of our day if it can. Structured activities like book bugs and bounce and rhymes, either gymnastics or swimming and yes we did rugby have also been great not only for development but for socialising and building friendships with others (for both the wee man and my sanity by the way). There are moments though when it is good to just stop.
It was easy to use the TV as a babysitter as I needed to the chores or yes enjoy a cup of coffee in peace. Now though I have been keeping the TV off. I have not said lets play a game or suggested arts and crafts. I have just let him be. The wee man's imagination suddenly comes alive as he builds worlds with his toys. He quickly finds ways to entertain himself and the toys that usually spent the day untouched were suddenly the focus of his attention. I find myself stopping what I am doing listening to a stream of conversation that my wee man is making up. It's possibly a scary way to see myself through his eyes as he has long conversations between his toys using the language I will use with him. He also gives his toys names of the young people at nursery and they play games together.
Unstructured time or what others call boredom has certainly shown itself to be beneficial. It's finally something that is simple and effective. There are no rules and there is no right way or wrong way. It's making sure a few things are accessible to him and he decides to use them as he chooses. Everyday you get something different.