We all hear that play is important for children. I know it’s important. It’s their work; how they learn to make friends, negotiate, solve problems with objects, and solve problems with other children. Play is having fun, and it’s also very hard work. Learning how to pump a swing and ride a bike is a mountain of a challenge. So is learning how to ask for a turn, and to stick up for yourself.
Recently I stood back and watched children playing in our Dinosaur Den at school. The conversation was lively, and they wanted to make the dinosaurs talk with each other.
And they did!
Then a child asked me to take a picture of all the dinosaurs. They had worked so carefully to get the dinosaurs all set up, before a dinosaur dinner. Do you see the dinner, the multitude of rocks. carefully lined up? I couldn’t get all the dinosaurs in one photo, so I had to make a video. This was very important to the children.
And then it was time for the dinosaurs to have dinner.
Do you know how long it took children to line up all those rocks? Can you see how carefully children are feeding and taking care of the dinosaurs? Do you see how they are working together?
Play = Life Skills.
Children who play can better attend at school.
Children who play have greater academic success.
Children who play make friends.
Children who play develop kindness, heart.
Children who play are problem solvers.
(This is just the tip of the iceberg, key parts of a long list.)
Therefore, children who play grow into adults who have the skills to become good citizens as well as good people. Isn’t that what’s most important? Take the flip side – when a terrible, evil situation happens at the hand of one person (Columbine, Sandy Hook for starters), I immediately think of what they were doing when they were four-years-old. They did not have a Dinosaur Den in which to play, nor a Mud Kitchen. Therefore, they didn’t develop any life skills. So, when someone wonders if play is important, yes it is!