"Creative play is a central activity in the lives of healthy children" Joan Almon
Play was a huge part of my life. For me play ranged from owning the neighborhood outside with my friends to playing cards with my grandma to board games with my parents, and of course who could forget the piles of barbies that I played with constantly. Play was who I was, playing by myself helped me figure out how to solve people problems and playing with other people helped me figure out how to connect with them.
|Playing dress-up in my neighborhood|
Then I grew up.
In highschool I still played with my barbies (shhhh, it's a secret) and well I still played cards and board games too. I also played clarinet and instead of running the neighborhood, we drove to the mall.
|Six Flags in 12th Grade|
Then I moved.
In college my barbies didn't come and board games turned into kamikaze spoons (most epic game ever) and we still drove to the mall but we also played outside in the mud (and river), but we also took finals and tests.
|Beating Keven at Kamikaze Spoons|
Then I got married.
And now I still play. But not every minute of every day, because well someone has to be the adult. I get to play with barbies again, but now they're my daughter's. Now I'm the one teaching the card games and board games, but we still play them. And we're still running, but now it's between cheerleading practice and flag football, and occasionally through the back yard.
|Micah playing dress up|
|Creating a Fly Boat with Abbey|
|Bike Riding with Ally|
Play is an ever changing force, but it always exists. In our younger years it's in the fore-front a huge moving force and as we age it switches positions and moves to the background. But it's still there. Play is still our friend, it's still a way that we learn and grow, a way that we practice new skills and gain confidence in our language skills. As a young child, play is what molds us, it helps us to figure out who we are and who we might become. But as an adult, we need to never forget that play exists.
We need to remember the importance of play and when a child asks us to join them, we need to enter their world. We need to boil the pretend tea, redecorate the living room with fort blankets, or put on the closest costume and dress up. Because through those moments our children are learning, growing, and bonding with us.
Put down the phone, push back dinner, and play for just a few minutes, it's really important, for you and them.
"The ability to play is one of the principal criteria of mental health." Joan Almon