I am about to say something that is very controversial nowadays: I don't play with or hover over my kids. Sure, I'll play a game of checkers with them or run around with them if they ask but on the whole, I am pretty hands off as a parent. I believe it is vitally important to let your children use their imaginations and create their own little worlds, free from the intervention of Mom and Dad. There is nothing more thrilling to me than watching my boys run around the front yard, only they have turned it into the planet Tatooine or a giant Bakugan battlefield.
I come by my hands-off approach pretty honestly as my parents were the same way. Matter of fact, when I was a kid it was considered weird to have your parents involved in the elaborate games and creations that you and your friends worked on. Honestly, parents kind of spoiled the fun because they wanted to make sure you didn't get too dirty and didn't make too much of a mess. There was no greater freedom as a child than to know that you could run like a crazy person without having to deal with your parent's intervention.
Please don't take this as an admission that I have abdicated my responsibility as a parent. I teach my children appropriate manners, work with them on their school work and do everything to make sure that they will grow up to be successful. I just happen to think that an important part of parenthood is knowing when to step back and just leave the kids alone. I let them fight their own battles, but they know that I am in the background if a situation gets too big for them to handle. I tend to cringe when I see a parent hover on the playground, especially when they try to lead their child's play and tell them how to handle a situation. Book learning is important but having the opportunity to create your own little world and yes, fall on your butt sometimes is a very important part of growing up.