The Importance of Play

Children want and need to play. It’s very serious business. Children learn a lot through playing.
Language, thinking, social and creative skills to name a few.

I’m not a get in the floor and wrestle around kind of parent. Never really have been. Charles is great at that sort of thing, though.
The girls love rough housing with him. I’m more the doll house play kind of mom. When I was little I would play with my Barbies and My Little Pony for hours and hours.
I even had a bunk in my room that housed all of my Barbies. I also used to take turns with my neighbor friend across the street…..we would alternate porches in the summer for our Barbie land. Cars, clothes, houses. Those were good times.

We were itching for some serious play so I took the kids to a place called The Jumping Monkey.

I wish they had a bounce house for adults. I think we need it, don’t you? I would love to jump and bounce all over the place. For me it would be therapeutic, like swinging at the park. I always feel care free swinging back and forth, feeling the breeze as I go higher and higher.

There are so many kinds of play. Pretend play/quiet/imaginitive/physical and mental play. No one is better than the other in my opinion.
My girls have been to China several times. They have gone grocery shopping, been doctors, climbed the highest mountain, and been on many other adventures.

They love to pretend as much as they do playing their video or computer games. Lately their pretend play has involved acting out scenarios from the games. It’s really cute to watch.

One of their favorite kinds of play seems to be free play. I have nothing against structured play. We do beading, painting, crafting, etc…I consider those structured activities. Although, I suppose all of those things could be free play too. I certainly don’t make them create a pattern necklace, or paint a bear brown because that’s what I like and think they should do.

Of course they love dress up. I came home from Ohio with several hats, bags and jewelry for them to play dress up.
I’m always on the lookout for items I think they would enjoy dressing up in.

We also have lots of climbing going on. They love to climb the stairs and then slide back down.
They keep trying to climb over the banister behind the couch. They climb the jungle gym in the backyard.
There is something exhilarating about climbing up something and then sliding or jumping back down.

Sometimes each one will sit and play quietly alone. Usually not for long. They don’t like to be apart from each other for long periods of time.

It’s also important to not  direct their play. Ava went up and down the same slide for the first 30 minutes we were there.
I notice if I jump in and start trying to direct which way they go, or how they do something, they shut down on me quickly.
They know how and when they want to play. I love it when they invite me to join in their play, so I’m careful to not get uninvited because I’m mucking up their play with my adult analyzing.

We adults think we know so much better than our children do, but I assure you that they are experts in the field of play.
We can learn a lot from simply watching our children play. Listen to their conversation as they play.

A little relaxing and then back to a lot more playing before we head home.
We have to eat to keep our energy up, right?

You see Samuel can’t hang with the big girls yet, but when he can…look out!

What were some of your favorite things to play when you were little? What about your kids?

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7 thoughts on “The Importance of Play

  1. Pingback: Radical Unschooling

  2. Maybe you can look into getting a trampoline so you can have some family bouncing time.I loved Barbies, swings, imaginative play etc. as a kid. It's sad that we lose a lot of that as adults. I babysit a 5 and 7 year old once a week and they involve me in their play quite a bit. It's nice.

  3. Maybe you can look into getting a trampoline so you can have some family bouncing time.I loved Barbies, swings, imaginative play etc. as a kid. It's sad that we lose a lot of that as adults. I babysit a 5 and 7 year old once a week and they involve me in their play quite a bit. It's nice.

  4. Play, play, play!!woohoo!Speaking of which, Maddie's hello kitty make-up kit is sitting here, waiting for her to wake up, and I've promised some cloth diapers for Emma (Baby Alive), so I'd better get started with my day. 🙂

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