What do you think is the best gift for young children? At this time of year, there is lots of discussion about the best present for kids: traditional toys versus new popular ones, natural items or the latest tech gadget or device, imaginative toys or construction sets–it’s hard to know. Just recently, there were two events that highlighted what I think is the answer.
In San Francisco, a little boy fighting leukemia had a wish. Like many kids, he wanted to be a SuperHero. The story of Batkid touched hearts all over the world as one day his wish came true. He got to play and so did more than 20,000 people in the city of San Francisco. That’s some playdate.
The other event also touched hearts, but in a tragic way. A terrible, devastating typhoon swept through the Philippines, affecting millions of people. As aid began to trickle in, what was one sign of hope? The children began to return to playing. Through play, these young survivors were adjusting to the chaos of their world, despite their fears and trauma.
The answer to the question of the best gift for children could indeed be PLAY. Play is how children learn, cope, and express themselves best. Kids play with toys and with empty boxes, either alone or with others. They also play with natural items like sticks, rocks, dirt, and water, or with electronic devices and games. Sometimes, we might call what they are doing work, but to them it is play.
As we look over the lists of possible gifts for kids trying to decide what to get, maybe we could ask “What will best support my child’s play?” Do you agree that the best gift is PLAY?
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