Birds do it.
Kittens do it.
In the zoo do it.
Do it, too?
PLAY! That beautiful little four letter word that is at the heart of childhood, but is sadly disappearing. What most adults don’t realize is that play is NOT a frivolous waste of time. PLAY is the child’s WORK and play is how young children learn best! It’s also the teachers’ work to be ADVOCATES FOR PLAY! The more you know about play, the more you can align it to standards and what is best for children. If you’ll go to my June article on my website you’ll find my “Cliff Notes PLAY Book.”
Froebel had the right idea over 150 years when he created “children’s gardens.” Before you can grow anything, you have to work long and hard to prepare the soil. Before children can grow into creative, well-adjusted, happy adults, we have to prepare the soil in their gardens. Singing, dancing, running outside, pretending, building, laughing, exploring…these are the essential ingredients for young children that will create the rich soil from which they will grow the rest of their lives.
Every child deserves time. Time to play, space to play, open-ended materials to explore, and friends to play with! They need time to develop their imaginations, bodies, and creativity. Play is not a luxury or a spectator sport! Play can build childhood memories of JOY, DELIGHT, RELATIONSHIPS, and FUN! Memories that will serve them well as they travel through their lives!
This quote kept coming up in my brain as I studied about play:
People don’t stop playing because they grow old.
They grow old because they stop playing!
Maybe we, too, need to play a little more and do things that bring us joy and make us happy!