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Book Review - Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

Book Review - Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

I’ve been wanting to read this book since I watched Dr. Brown’s TED talk all about play. As someone who is a huge advocate for play, reading this book was thrilling. There are so many great quotes and wonderful information about the importance of play and it’s impact on our social lives. Here are a few of my favorite highlights from the book.

Tips for Setting Up Playdates

Tips for Setting Up Playdates

You’re on the phone with the school counselor, talking about the concerns you have about your son’s social skills. You hear the words you’ve been dreading - “Mrs. Jackson, one of the best ways to work on these skills is on a play date with one other child. Maybe it makes sense to try to set up a few playdates for him”. But how do you do that? Where do you even begin?

Setting up and prepping for a playdate doesn’t need to be super complicated or take a lot of time. Check out these tips to help you set up and host a successful playdate for your child!

Play Matters

Play Matters

Play is the best way for children to learn. Play helps children figure out how to interact with one another. Play helps children figure out how to problem solve, make decisions, collaborate and work together as a team. Play is crucial for children to develop socially and cognitively. Play is a part of nature - even animals learn through play.  Play should be a part of everyday life. Adults and children should take some time to play every day. It's the best way to learn plus it's fun.

The Best Ways to support kids in social situations

The Best Ways to support kids in social situations

I was invited to join a group of wonderful bloggers to write for the series Happy New Year, Healthy Kids. This series is focused on ways we can help our kids be happy and healthy in this new year. But what do social skills and friendship have to do with health?

Think for a minute about the positive friendships in your life. Healthy friendships provide support, make you feel connected with others, reduce your stress and increase your happiness. It’s so wonderful to have these people around you! In order for kids to start and maintain friendships so they can experience these benefits too, kids need to learn social skills and how to interact positively with others.

Playful New Year's Resolutions for Families

Playful New Year's Resolutions for Families

It’s that time of year when people are making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve been thinking about some of the basics (organize my house, clean up my eating habits, etc) but I’ve also been thinking about what I can do encourage playing and friendships in my own home. Here are some New Year’s Resolutions to make 2015 a great year!!

4 Ways to Promote Play!

4 Ways to Promote Play!

I watched a really interesting TED talk by Peter Gray about the state of play today. I initially saw this video on Facebook with a caption reading “Kids today are more depressed than they were during the great depression”. As a therapist, that immediately got my attention, and I decided to watch it. What a great video! Here are a few key points I took away from the video:

What is a good friendship?

What is a good friendship?

If your child is trying to figure out who would be a good friend, or who would be a good peer to invite over for a playdate, start by talking with them about what to look for in a friend.  There are so many different attributes your child might want in a potential friend, but they may not always be the best things to look for in someone.  If your child is having a hard time making friends, they might say they’d like to be friends with the most popular child or the one that has the biggest, coolest stuff in their house. It makes sense to talk about attributes and characteristics they want to see in someone they’d want in a friendship. Here is a brief list of characteristics you can use as a starting point for a conversation about attributes in a good friendship:

Why I like play dates

Why I like play dates

                        Just because it's scheduled time doesn’t mean it lacks imagination.

Kids need to play in order to practice creativity and flexibility, solve problems and learn ways to regulate emotions, and I’ve already addressed the importance of play in this blog post.  A new phenomenon in play has evolved since I was a child, the scheduled play date.  The play date has been getting some negative press recently, with people listing all the things they don’t like about them.  There are pros and cons to everything, so I decided to explain why I appreciate play dates. I’ve found them to be helpful for a number of the children I‘ve worked with over the years, and I schedule play dates for my own children from time to time.

TED Talk from Tim Brown

TED Talk from Tim Brown

I was intrigued by this TED Talk by Tim Brown because of the title - Tales of creativity and play.  Tim Brown is the CEO of a consultancy company, and you might be thinking - what the heck does a CEO of a company know about play??!?  Quite a lot, it turns out.  This is an interesting TED talk to watch because he has the audience actually do a few creative activities, including drawing and shooting little foam rockets around the room.  What I love about this TED talk is that he connects play with how that helps the creative process in the work place and suggests that adults should use play more.  Here’s what resonated with me from this TED talk:

5 Helpful hints for a play date at your home

5 Helpful hints for a play date at your home

Play dates are a popular way for kids to get together and hang out, but some kids struggle on play dates.  If you think your child may have difficulty on a play date, it may work best to have a first play date with a new friend at your own house.  Your child may feel more comfortable in a familiar environment. You’ll be able to keep an eye and ear out during the play date so you can  step in if things start to break down. Here are some helpful hints when setting up and hosting a play date at your home.

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