How about some star ideas for play? To start the month, we made star wands and wished upon a star. Very recently, was the release of the new Star Wars movie. Stars can be the inspiration for some plays-of-the-day.
When it comes to kids and play, the idea that gets the gold star is just that—PLAY. As parents and caregivers, making sure kids have the time and space to play is one of our most crucial responsibilities. So how do we do this? Here is a condensed version of a recent article giving 3 tips:
“1. Play doesn’t only happen with toys…Kids can get very creative at using real items as toys. This can cause parents and caregivers great problems such as hunting for keys that kids were using to play with. Or discovering the gas tank on the car is full because the kids used the water hose as they played in the yard when a parent was gardening. Sometimes, the problems can be very scary because kids really will play with anything. But most of the time, we can use things we have at home to extend time to play.
2. To a child, work can be play…Kids like to ‘help’ and be part of the action. Doing dishes can be play, and so can making meals and tidying up the yard. Adults need to be inspired by kids to make their work more playful.
3. Play can be counted in minutes. The hours in a day are already full but play fits into minutes. Taking advantage of minutes to add an element of play doesn’t need to tax your brain. Kids will find ways to play on their own. We can watch and listen to them as they play.
Play is so critical, it is enshrined as one of the rights of children by the United Nations High Commission. Kids learn basic life skills as they play. Play can happen anywhere, at any time, with anything, all alone or with others. It doesn’t require expensive toys or special programs because kids will play with sticks and boxes–and things that give our hearts a leap.Because the early years are the most sensitive time for development, one of our responsibilities as parents and caregivers is to ensure kids have time and space to play. Isn’t it amazing that at one of the busiest times in our lives we can provide for children’s most critical needs thru play? 1 2 3 Go PLAY!”
Can you suggest and share some star ideas for play?
The most important activity for kids is play and one of our most crucial responsibilities is to ensure there is time and space for children and play.
We can’t dismiss what kids do as ‘just play’ because play is how children train their brains. Through their play, kids are downloading the skills they need to coordinate body movements, communicate, interact with others, control their own feelings and emotions, and cope with the world around them. If we want kids to become independent and make good choices we need to let them direct their own play.
Just today, a friend and dad of a preschool boy shared this photo. At first, it looks like a line of pillows and cushions along the floor. But it is far more than that. It is a train. The little boy invited his dad to come aboard his train.
Where did all that learning and creating come from? So many connections had to happen for this to take place. The little boy is consolidating what he knows about trains and recreating it. Trains have cars and these cars are all together in a line. There’s a front to the train and the back, The driver of the train is at the front. Trains carry people and things. When people get on trains, we say, “All aboard.” This sounds like the word board, but it means to hop on, something quite different.
None of this was suggested by the dad. In fact, he asked his son what was going on. Likely, this was more of an invitation to share and the little boy eagerly invited his dad to come and play. Using the pillows and cushions to be the train cars also show the developing ability to use one object to symbolize another. This is a key to reading. We use squiggly lines to symbolize real things. Kids need lots of play experiences over and over for the brain to develop this ability.
As parents and caregivers, we can get clues about what’s happening for a child from play. We may be able to support the play by asking things like, “Do I need a ticket? What could we use?” Or, we may ask the cost and use pretend money. Is there a way that you can give your child the time and space today to play?
(P.S. Can you come out and play? You can share your photos and stories about play on 123’s facebook page.)
Now this new year’s resolution should be easiest of all to keep because it’s child’s play, that is making sure kids have time each day for play activities. As adults, we sometimes forget how tremendously important it is for children to just play. It’s easy to get busy, but play is so very important the United Nations High Commission has included the right to play as one of the Universal Rights of the Child.
Why is play so vital for children? Children learn thru play. They will use practically anything to play with and their actions will often be doing the same thing over and over, but this is play. Empty boxes can be as much fun as expensive toys, sweeping the floor as exciting as looking for pirate treasure. As they play, children learn, figure out, explore, and discover. Play is often very hard work as children are vigorously involved, both physically and mentally. They are developing their understanding of the world outside and themselves inside.
At this age, children are developing at an intense rate. The years before the age of 5 are the most sensitive time for learning. This means that home is really children’s first school and parents and caregivers are the first teachers. Making sure that children have time each day to play is a priority. Time to play is not necessarily time with games and toys or require us to play with children. Kids can play by themselves as well as with others. Nor is it organized activities or being entertained. Time to play could be building a tower with blocks, or taking all the socks out of the drawer. It might be putting a puzzle together or throwing rocks in a puddle. Play can happen at the kitchen sink as well as in a playroom. It can be delightful to watch or give us gray hairs!
In the words of Fred Rogers, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Could there be a better new year’s resolution than time to play?
There is a famous quote by George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.” This weekend, I got to visit two places that are very connected to playing. The local toy store was having a celebration and sale. There were lots of families and kids … Continue reading Play Important for All Ages
Just recently, I got to meet–and have my picture taken–with actor Dean Cain who played Superman in the tv series Lois and Clark. Good thing he wasn’t dressed as Superman; I’d have been even more excited. Sometimes, the roots of careers can be found in how a child plays, so I asked Dean if, as … Continue reading Mrs. A Gets to Meet Superman (Dean Cain)
Series Part #11: Kids Going to Kindergarten Need to PLAY One of the most important ways that we can support children as they get ready to start kindergarten is let them have time and space to PLAY. Did you know that play is so essential to the healthy development of children that the United Nations … Continue reading Extraordinary Learning Needs Ordinary Play
No athlete would simply arrive at a game one day and expect to play; there’s a lot that happens long before. Somehow though, we expect kids to just arrive at school one day and be able to do their best. Just like the athletes, preparation can help kids get ready for school. Many professional athletes … Continue reading Soccer Helps Kids Prepare for School
World Cup Soccer has started and some children will dream of one day playing in the championships. Did you notice that key word: PLAY? Whether it’s FIFA, the Olympics, the Stanley Cup or another great event and competition, the roots of Sport are PLAY. There will be some exciting soccer matches as these teams from … Continue reading Will Your Child Be A World Cup Soccer PLAYer?
During play, children can combine something they already know in a new or different way to create new brain connections. Play is important for early learning and it can happen in the most surprising places. Yesterday afternoon, Little Sister went to a birthday party at a gymnastics facility. She enjoyed jumping on the giant air … Continue reading Play Combines New and Old for Brain Connections
PLAY Makes Childhood Magical Recently, a popular article has been circulating written by Bunmi Laditan declaring “I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical.” This mom states that she’s had it with themed birthdays, elaborate crafts, and contrived memories. She explores some of the things that made childhood magical for her. After reading, I tried to … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 1: PLAY