Do you know how my 5th grade teacher taught us the planets? She sang it to us. When her former students would come back and visit, she would always ask if they remembered the order of the planets. And they’d all end up singing it back to her. Imagine these big high school juniors and seniors singing in the middle of a 5th grade class?!
From the other room, you hear “MooOOOm, I can’t find anything to play with!!” Then you walk into a playroom filled with toys and a 7 year old who has their cranky pants on.
How many times have you experienced something similar? Your children have all these toys and they just don’t play with anything. It’s mind boggling, really. Let’s break it down and try to make it a little easier.
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.
I recently read a great article about 4 things kids don’t need (and some things they do). This article is exactly what I’ve been trying to focus on with my family. My new year’s resolution was to rotate toys more regularly, and I wanted to make sure the toys we’re rotating through were ideal for open ended, creative play. I made a list of the toys we do have and tried to focus on ones that would meet those criteria. Here’s some of what we have:
Play is such an important part of life. In fact, my first ever blog post was about the importance of play. As I’ve been doing research and writing blog posts, I’ve come across several great quotes about play and learning. I wanted to share my favorite quotes with everyone using pictures. Enjoy!
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:
I’m a big proponent of having a family game night. I’ve even written two posts about great games for families - one focused on elementary school and one focused on preschool. But you might be wondering how game night can benefit your kids. It’s a great weekly habit that can promote a lot of positive behavioral growth. Here are four reasons to fit it into your weekly schedule.
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.
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:
I found this great resource for teens, families and educators on twitter, anniefox.com. I really enjoy her podcasts and I watched this one recently that is right in line with my thinking about the importance of play. She spoke with a brain development specialist and educator, Deborah McNelis. The highlights:
Here are five strategies you can use to help set the stage for an enjoyable play experience:
1. Incorporate different types of play.
A child who plays well is comfortable with many forms of play. Some categories of play include gross motor, fine motor, pretend play, construction, sensory, etc. Gross motor activities include tag, obstacles courses and races. Activities like rainbow loom or stringing beads are more fine motor play. Some popular themes of pretend play include restaurant, school and space. Construction can be out of all kinds of different materials like blocks, play doh, or even recycling. Sensory can be using sand, rice or beans. Exposure to different types of play leads to valuable experiences.