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Play is Important for Children AND Adults
October 20, 2020
In many preschool programs and kindergartens, young children are engaged in filling out worksheets, reading from flash cards, or reciting numbers in rote fashion. But just because young children can do those things, in a normative sense, is not sufficient justification for requiring them to do so.
-Lilian G. Katz

In her New York Times article, “How to Add More Play to Your Grown-Up Life, Even Now,” Kristin Wong writes:

"At a time when jobs are precarious, livelihoods are at stake and we’re still fighting a deadly pandemic, play is low on our list of priorities. We’re living in a world that’s more conducive to anxiety than playfulness. In the never-ending to-do list of adulthood, play can feel like a waste of time. We exhaust ourselves with tasks we should or have to do, but we rarely have time or energy for activities we want to do…

Play offers a reprieve from the chaos, and it challenges us to connect with a key part of ourselves that gets lost in the responsibilities of adulthood, especially during a crisis…

There are a number of benefits to play for adults, including improved stress management and an improvement in our overall well-being — benefits we could certainly use right now.”

Here’s one idea Wong suggests to help us get started playing again by reflecting on childhood memories:

"List the activities you enjoyed as a kid, then brainstorm the grown-up version. If you liked climbing trees, maybe you can try indoor rock climbing. If you loved Play-Doh, maybe you could take a pottery class or make bread from scratch. You don’t always need a new version of a childhood pastime, though. Climbing trees can still be pretty fun as an adult."

And, speaking of childhood memories, Lilian Katz, writing in the book, Art of Leadership: Cultivating Curriculum in Early Childhood Organizations, reminds early childhood practitioners to carefully guard young children’s chances to learn through play:

“As for the learning environment, the younger the children are, the more informal it should be. Informal learning environments encourage spontaneous and cooperative effort. In spontaneous play, children engage in whatever play activities interest them.”

Source: “How to Add More Play to Your Grown-Up Life, Even Now,” by Kristin Wong, New York Time, August 14, 2020

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