“Play is the highest form of research.”
– Albert Einstein
“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.”
- Fred Rogers
We are creatures of creativity, of creation, of building things up and knocking them down. We are the ripples on a pond lost on the shore, stalks of grass and hidden grasshoppers, storybooks and stars in an unpolluted night sky. We are knees bent in sand scraping away at childhood. We are sandcastles left behind after a summer day. A red shovel beloved then forgotten. We create, we play, we knock it down and start over. It is a thread throughout human history.
Play. If I was to define the three legs of a stool upon which the seat of any child's education would sit it would be these three: love, reading and play. There is such an intensity, such necessity to our growth as humans to have play filled interactions. Playing allows young children to try on different personalities, work through emotions, as well as react to and understand their environment. I think it is just as important for us to play with our children as for our children to play well with others.
Playing with our children shouldn't be exhausting either (parenting is already exhausting)! So if you are struggling after a long day at work, or a long day being home with your children, I invite you to look at play in different ways. Play doesn't always have to mean sitting down to play tea party + dollies, or playing with them in the sandbox as you are trying to get dinner on the table. Instead, invite them into your activity. If you are cooking, invite them over to play "restaurant," if you are folding laundry (a mindless task) invite them to play along side of you acting out an imaginative story. Let them pretend they are wild creatures under the desk that you must tame while you sweep. Playing with our children should be fun.
I am not saying this is always easy though. Sometimes the playing does backfire at our house. When the boys were little all three of them were notorious for being completely engaged in their made-up character, sometimes insisting for stretches of time that they be called by the character's name. Once my oldest insisted that each member of the family keep the names he had given them (cat and dog included). This lasted for weeks (as he was our first we probably over-indulged a little). However it got to the point that one day my husband turned to me and said,"I really miss being called just dad." Another time my middle was pretending to be a monkey. He had been a monkey all afternoon, eating bananas, jumping around, wishing we had a tree to climb. When it was bed time, he was still insisting on being a monkey. My husband was working late and I had already gotten his baby brother in bed and was trying to get him to calm down for story time with his older brother. "But I'm a monkey and I don't haf to go to bwed!" he insisted.
"Well," I calmly explained, "all monkey's go to bed. They have to listen to their mama's."
"Not me," he replied, "I am Curious George and Curious George neber, neber listens!"
Sigh. There are somedays when a mama just wants her little monkey to listen.
Parenting always has its surprising hiccups.
~I have also asked some wonderfully insightful moms to talk about their experiences in parenting+learning+schooling. So please be on the look out for the guest posts that will be popping up over here from time to time! Our first one will be tomorrow!~
Here are also some links to wonderful blogs that have loads of playing+creating+learning. They are wonderful resources!
I am sure you know about other great resources as well! Please share! xxoo