For kids, play is some of the most important work they can be doing each and every day. It is through play that kids develop intrinsic motivation, make sense of the world, increase their ability to persist, among many other benefits.
Consider two children who sit down to complete a puzzle. To begin, they have to agree on which puzzle to complete and then create a plan of how they will assemble it together. They have to negotiate the physical space, share the pieces, and make a plan to connect what they have completed individually. As they work on the puzzle itself, they will problem solve to find the right piece, and have to think critically to make sure they turn the piece in the right direction. From there, they will need to persist and find motivation from within to complete the puzzle. There is a lot happening in this one activity, and although it can be a lot of fun, there is so much learning occurring simultaneously.
Over school vacations, on weekends, after school, and throughout the summer, find ways to play! The skills your child will gain are incredible and remember there are so many ways to turn every day activities into a game. Below are a couple of simple and fun game from the book, “A Moving Child is a Learning Child: How the body teaches the brain to think,” by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy.
And, don’t forget, play is also good for adults! Below is an article from Edutopia, which is geared toward teachers, but I think it has good advice for us all.