Time To Play

12 Apr

It’s so nice to drop my daughter off at school and see all the kids running around at recess. Playing, jumping, throwing and kicking balls, climbing. It’s one of the few things that this school district does right. At least in the early elementary grades. The first school where I taught did not have recess-at all. So, unless the classroom teacher took the kids out, there was no play time. It was no wonder there was so much difficulty with discipline. In the intermediate grades here they have instituted what they call “intramurals” instead of recess. It is an adult organized activity. That’s great to help maintain physical activity. But FREE PLAY is important too. That’s where the kids can really stretch their imaginations as well as their bodies. They can invent new games with elaborate rules. Our kids are forgetting how to use their imaginations because it is being stifled by adults stepping in and OVER structuring their lives. It’s not just in school either. Parents signing their kids up for everything under the sun, all for a “better future” all the while destroying the present. I say, LET THEM PLAY! Take classes and join teams if you must, but keep it to a minimum (one, maybe two at the most). Let them decide what to join; this gives them the chance to learn about decision making and consequences. Give your kids a chance to just be kids. Yes, they need structure, but they don’t need to be micromanaged.

My kids have never been big on toys. All those newfangled gadgets they’ve got now have never attracted my kids. What do they like to play with? Balls, of all sizes and textures; stacking cups and rings; blocks; dolls, dress up clothes, and kitchen sets for pretend play; jump ropes, hula hoops, and wiffle ball bats; sidewalk chalk and other art supplies. It’s a pretty small list. They get tons of stuff from family for Christmas, but it always ends up sitting on the shelf. These new toys actually do too much without any help from the child. Where’s the fun in that!

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