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!
Fabulous! And so important!
Thank you, Opher!
I love it – just going to read all of your heartwarming piece in a bit.
Warmest wishes to you and to all those dear to you
I love the dinosaur den, and the way the kids got their ‘dinner’ ready. Learning to work together to care for animals, even toy plastic ones, is a true life skill, and a sign of a caring and compassionate nature. Now all they have to do is to learn what dinosaurs actually did eat. 🙂 🙂
Best wishes, Pete.
You are exactly right, Pete, and you said it well. Learning to work together and care in this way, with toy animals, equates to important life skills. And, they do know which dinosaurs are herbivores and which are carnivores. 🙂
Love this Jennie 💜
Thanks, Ritu. I thought of you. ❤️
Playing builds teamwork skills, the most important skill to have in the world of employment according to surveys with employers. When I interviewed people for a living, I could usually tell if they had learned how to play as children. Of course, playing builds many other skills as well especially problem-solving. It must be rewarding for you to watch these skills develop. I love the dinosaurs!!
I love what you said, Darlene. You hit the nail on the head. Teamwork is definitely top dog in the world of employment. Like you when you interview, I can usually spot the people who didn’t play as children.
And the list grows beyond social inequities. A study about ten years ago noted that new surgeons did not have the same degree of hand skills. The reason?
Ooops! The reason is because they did not have the same opportunities to play outdoors- building forts, using sticks and rocks. Their hands were “trained” on a keyboard, not outdoors. Fascinating!
This does not surprise me.
Me as well.
Excellent, Jennie. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, John. 🙂
You are right, Jennie. It is creativity that makes some people great as they are the ones who can make the leaps of logic and inspiration with inventions.
Well said, Robbie. Thank you.
Jennie, and Robbie commented exactly my feelings about Play as well! Just wonderful teaching Jennie. 🙂
Thank you, Karen. 😊
Thank you, Karen.
The dino den looks like loads of fun!
Thank you, Deborah. It is a magnet for fun as well as learning.
You are so right, Jennie. This is an adorable post. I was smiling all the way. Loved the dino den and everything about it. Hugs.
Many thanks, Teagan. It is truly important. I’m so glad you liked it. 🙂
That’s a very impressive dinosaur den! Fun to watch them play and to remember how important it is to do so.
It is, indeed! Thank you, Marcia. 🙂
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here is another wonderful post from Jennie, an excellent teacher, on the importance of play!
Thank you so much, Charles. This is as important as anything. I often think of the children I ‘send to you’ – those who are fully engaged in the Dinosaur Den will be ready for your college English class. Oh, they will read and debate. 🙂
Jennie, you are very welcome!
And thank you!
A lovely post and playing is as you know, Jennie how children learn so many life skills and how to question as well. Love the dinosaurs and can see how much the children are learning and sharing those social skills are so important it teaches them to be kind and considerate of others…A lovely post 🙂
Thank you, Carol. You are exactly right when it comes to play. 🙂
To visit your world via your blog posts is to feel renewed and uplifted and reassured and inspired! Thank you for what you do with these small human beings and then thank you again for giving us these delightful glimpses into your day at school. I am going to see if I can figure out how to share this post via FB…
That is so nice, Will. Thank you!
Oh gosh I was in a tk class today and the kids at times played great but they couldn’t share , kicking and punching each other. I don’t know why and it broke my heart.
That always makes me sad, and it usually means that they just didn’t have the words to tell the other child why they were upset. What did you do?
I talked to them. Show them to use words.
Thanks for this, I totally agree about the importance of children just being allowed to play 🙂 I’m here in Beijing now and telling the kids to have a break and ‘play’, instead of solid studying, brings a look of horror across most of the parents’ faces. There is so much focus on sitting behind a desk and absolutely zero on play/interaction. This society will have major problems in years to come..
You are absolutely right! Thank you.
I love the posts like this, in which you share the children’s work, Jennie. They make my heart sing and I wish I was right there with you all. You make me feel like I am!
Aww… thank you so much, Norah. I’m so happy that the children’s work made your heart sing. I wish you were right here, too. 😊
That would be wonderful – but I am in my heart. 🙂
I’m so glad! 🙂
Such a wonderful post, Jennie. You are 100% right. I wonder if today’s seemingly dominant play, computer games, has an opposite effect? Does it promote more aggressive behavior and limits the skill of getting along?
Thank you, Steve. I do think computer games, when they become a primary source of play, promote aggressive behavior and limit the ability to get along. But the child who is totally consumed with these games often did not have play skills to begin with, and computer games became the playmate. Loose-loose. And so sad.
Please forward this to the Senate and the House of Representatives…since words don’t work maybe images would help!
I love this! Thank you, KC 😀
So important! It helps shape their behaviour as adults.
Absolutely! Thank you, Anneli.
Absolutely! I used to spend hours playing with both my children and my grandchildren – and now there’s another little one I will have a chance to play with…
That’s wonderful, Sarah!
So beautifully written Jennie. Play is indeed hard wok and we better take a child’s play seriously . Thank you for reminding.
I couldn’t agree more, Jennie. I love to see children at play. I enjoyed that video and your photos. The dinosaur dinner was a clever idea! Bravo to the kids!
Thank you, Marie. I’m so glad you enjoyed this. The dinosaur den is a magnet for the best play, including dinners. 🙂
Great post – so very important (I still love to “play”)
Thank you, Dan. I’m so glad you still like to play. 🙂
Play is important for adults as well as children. We need to keep that special character that is a very sacred part of childlife. Thank you for this writing. It is such an important lesson. Hugs and blessings, Anne
Thank you, Anne. You said it well. 🙂
I agree 100%- play time is sooo important and the results are always showing up later on.
I love this post! Great message and what a fun parade.
Thank you, Cindy!
Yes! I love this. Play is necessary.
Absolutely! And thank you.
Ah play, so under-rated, restricted and choreographed within so many school settings. You’ve written a wonderful piece here explaining how important free play and imaginative play really is. Wonderful 👍🏼
And playing as an adult is really stinkin fun too!