Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Importance of Play

I love my teens! Everyone hears about how much I love these years with them, being able to converse and share interests. But I won't deny that I miss playing with them. Although we still find time to play cards and board games, I miss the magical play that transforms a playground into a jungle, a couch into a life raft, or a Barbie dollhouse into Hogwarts! In these cold winter months, I want to remind us to put down the phones and iPads, turn off the televisions, leave the laundry baskets for a little while and play, play, play with our children.

A couple of great quotes from a Peter Gray article (in British spelling and all):

"The most important skills that children everywhere must learn in order to live happy, productive, moral lives are skills that cannot be taught in school. Such skills cannot be taught at all. They are learned and practised by children in play. These include the abilities to think creatively, to get along with other people and cooperate effectively, and to control their own impulses and emotions."


 "All young children are creative. In their play and self-directed exploration they create their own mental models of the world around them and also models of imaginary worlds. Adults whom we call geniuses are those who somehow retain and build upon that childlike capacity throughout their lives. Albert Einstein said his schooling almost destroyed his interest in mathematics and physics, but he recovered it when he left school. He referred to his innovative work as “combinatorial play”. He claimed that he developed his concept of relativity by imagining himself chasing a sunbeam and catching up with it, and then thinking about the consequences. We can’t teach creativity, but we can drive it out of people through schooling that centres not on children’s own questions but on questions dictated by an imposed curriculum that operates as if all questions have one right answer and everyone must learn the same things."

Link to the complete article: Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less by Peter Gray