Play to Learn

It seems to me that children have forgotten how to play. They sit for hours and hours in front of the television. They let video games show them imaginative worlds and mindlessly press away at the buttons. They watch all the newest movies and seemed starved for the latest releases. Do children go out and just play anymore? It seems to me like the answer is no.

I watch children out at recess time and they have no idea what to do with themselves. Once the basketball nets and four square courts are taken up, no one seems to know what to do. Swing sets have been unceremoniously taken away from schoolyards, apparently because of the administration’s fear of liability issues. Climbing structures don’t seem to be found in the newer schools. It is almost as if, we are afraid to let the children play.

Neighbourhood parks seem to be empty more often that not. Seesaws and carousels are no longer to be found, no matter how hard you look. Children will play hackie sack, soccer, basketball, roller blade, and other such sport activities but imaginative play seems to be a thing of the past. We seem to be addicted to the media and rely way too heavily on it. Adults are guilty of this too. Hobbies and sports activities seem to be few are far between for many adults.

What has happened? Have we forgot the importance of play? Play gives us all a chance to use our imaginations. Play helps children learn how to socialize. Kids learn about rules and working together through games. Play helps children to learn problem-solving skills. Games always seem to have their share of drama and this helps children to deal with their problems.

So let’s encourage the children in our lives to turn off the media devices and to go out and play. As parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbours, whatever, let’s play with the children. Let’s encourage children to play with each other. Let’s keep play inside the classrooms well beyond kindergarten.