ways to play

Go Wacky and Wild – Kids Need Time to PLAY

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss books are full of wonderfully wacky words and no matter how wild, there’s an underlying message–kids need time to play!

kids need time to playHaven’t we all heard that before? After all, this is now the 21st century meaning progress to the max, the mad max! Yet, in his 21st century article, “The Decline of Play and Rise of Children’s Mental Disorders” author and expert Peter Gray has a grim warning. He writes, “…if progress is measured in the mental health and happiness of young people, then we have been going backward at least since the early 1950s.”

We all know kids need time to play and there are more clubs and activities than ever before so, l like Horton the elephant said. “That doesn’t make sense.” What’s declining for kids is their own play, the kind they make up and think up on their own. Not directed by adults. Not structured in lessons. This kind of play is sometimes called free play, or self-directed play.

Dr. Seuss used many ways that kids play in his books, such as having a parade. The Berenstains’ B Book tells the story of a sort of parade on a bicycle. Of course, a whole parade doesn’t fit on a bike so there is a tremendous pile up as everyone piles off.

Dressing up is a favorite way to play. Just think what fun kids could have with The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cousins. Really, only a few is enough and kids find ways to make their own, including a bowl.

As they play, kids love to imagine. Marco kept “his eyelids up” and saw a horse and cart on Mulberrry Street but in his imagination it was a zebra and chariot, or reindeer and sled, or elephant and brass band, and so on.

making a Horton nest

For a play-of-the-day, share a Dr. Seuss book with your child and let your child go play. After we read Horton Hatches the Egg, Big Sister made a nest. Just sitting doesn’t sound very playful–that was Mayzie’s complaint. To sit on the nest, Big Sister had to make one which first needed a sofa cushion. Each time she sat she added something else, a pillow, a placemat, and more.

Play can be wacky and wild, or quiet and mild, but either way, kids need time to play. How will your child play?

Play #7: Does Children’s Play Influence Career Choices?

It’s an interesting question: Does children’s play influence career choices? Or, do interests already present in childhood influence how kids play? Like the chicken or the egg, which comes first? In this series of posts on ways children play, several parents are contributing descriptions of how their child plays. One preschool boy is really into … Continue reading Play #7: Does Children’s Play Influence Career Choices?

Vigorous Active Play – Ways Children Play #4

There’s nothing like sun to encourage vigorous active play and that’s how L loves to play. Movement and whole body play are his play valentine. A happy, busy 3 year old, L likes to move. His outside trampoline gets almost daily use, when weather permits, as he jumps and runs. He sometimes chooses a ball … Continue reading Vigorous Active Play – Ways Children Play #4