Tue, 01/11/2011 - 03:16 — amywickstrom
Redefining Play: 3 Hints for What “True Play” Really Is!
What do all children have in common throughout the world? They play! In fact, play is the single, most common activity of childhood across cultures. Unfortunately, kids spend most of their day in structured activities preparing them for adulthood, and the value of non-directive play is often left behind. This may lead you to ask, “Amy, what exactly do you mean by ‘play’?” Here are some helpful hints:
- Spontaneous. True play is initiated by the child, not you. In other words, telling your child to play while you cook dinner isn’t true play. On the other hand, if you notice your child starting to play while you cook dinner, you’re witnessing true play!
- Child-led: When children play, they are the one’s in charge of what they play with and how they play. Said differently, they are in the driver’s seat, and you are a passenger coming along for the ride. So the next time you find yourself about to say, “Hey, let’s play with your dollhouse for a few minutes together,” try sitting on the floor next to your child and wait to see what your child chooses to play with instead.
- Safe: I remember having a blast as a kid when my siblings and I jumped on the bed playing with my dad. But my mom was right… that kind of play probably wasn’t very safe, and I’m sure there were some injuries that could have been prevented! Play should be fun, but not at the expense of safe.
Source: Amy Wickstrom, PhD, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor
More Than a Toy (www.morethanatoy.com)