Times and the world may have changed, but children are still children, and we must be so careful not to let the rush of society rob them of the precious years of actually being a child. Each one has his/her own talents, interests and intellectual potential that we want to help them discover and develop. This can happen in natural, interactive ways when we expose children to a variety of experiences.
There is a difference, however, between exposure and over-scheduling.While it is wonderful to give children a chance to try different activities, enrolling them in structured lessons every day after school and on weekends robs them of the chance to just be children. That's not to say that lessons, teams, and activities are bad - quite the contrary -but rather, strive for a balance of free and structured time, and avoid activities that are so competitive that the child cannot just enjoy the activity itself.
Without time in which nothing is planned for them, children may not learn how to be comfortable in their own company or how to fill their own time without someone to direct them. A child is more likely to discover a passion for art through “messing around” with art media than through structured, directed art lessons. The same is true of sports; playing ball outside with friends and/or family and going to games is more likely to spark a passion for playing the game than engaging in instructional sport leagues too early. Exposure to music, dance and theater through singing, dancing and playing games like Charades at home as well as attending age-appropriate, professional performances can also foster interest in participation on a higher level.
Toys are fun, and toys are also tools that help children learn about themselves and the world around them. Time for play is critical to the healthy growth and development of children. As children play, they learn to solve problems, to get along with others and to develop the fine and gross motor skills needed to grow and learn.1
Find some time management principles here from Alvin Rosenfeld, author of "The Over-Scheduled Child".
1 UC Davis Health System, http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu