I read an interesting article recently about giving our children the time and space to play.
It was written in response to calls by the government last year to increase the amount of time children spend in school to up their studying time and so increase their exam scores.
In the article, the author stated:
Most problems in life cannot be solved with formulae or memorised answers of the type learnt in school. They require the judgement, wisdom and creative ability that come from life experiences. For children, those experiences are embedded in play.
And what about now my children are older; brushing shoulders with teendom? I think play is more important than ever.
I recall years ago speaking with a dad whose four year old was in another room with just a box of Lego and two small cardboard boxes. He was there for ages, creating something or other, clearly lost in the moment and happily speaking to himself as though he were looking for inspiration from the room around him.
The dad said: “Look at him, don’t you think that’s the saddest thing you ever saw? He plays like that all the time.”
I didn’t say it but I thought to myself, screamed to myself, NO. I think it’s amazing that your boy is happy to go off and create and entertain himself with a game he’s totally made up himself.
Anyway, I digress. I personally believe that in order to be happy, productive, moral adults our kids should climb trees, play in rivers, break the ice on puddles with sticks, play British Bulldog, run around in the long grass behind the cricket pavilion. Basically take a few risks.
I think they shouldn’t be showered with ‘things to do’ but left to invent things for themselves.
Give two kids a large cardboard box and a box of crayons and see what they come up with. Their imaginations will run wild and I am constantly amazed at how creative they can be.
That right there is the beauty of children.
The skills children need to learn in order to be happy individuals in the future cannot be taught in school. They are learned through play: The ability to think creatively, being able to get along with others, being part of a team, learning to compromise, negotiate, being able to control their emotions, thinking around things, solving problems.
This post is for week 215 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Play.
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