My Connections to Play

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

– George Bernard Shaw

 

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I lived in Flint Michigan in the city when I was young. I had a fenced in backyard that had a swing-set and my dad made a sandbox. I used to go into my yard and pretend to be a princess in a castle where I was a locked in the castle and couldn’t leave. As I would swing I would pretend that I was flying to another place where I would feel safe.

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My grandparents lived down the street and when I went to their house I would pretend that I was a princess in a safe castle where I could explore the world. I would go on imaginary trips to the woods and find tree houses where I could live and feel safe.  My grandmother would come outside and join me in my play. I called her the queen of my castle and she could stay safe if we were together.

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When I was ten we moved out to the country. We had a bigger house and a wood down the street. I could walk to the woods and stay gone all day if I was in my house by dark. I had friends that I spent time with. We made a club that only girls could join. We had a club house in the field and we decorated it with real flowers, wood, and rocks. We had a club password which was “We are daisy flowers that blossom and grow.” My friend who is a children’s author today created our password. My memories of play as an older child were amazing and I kept a journal that I enjoy reading even today. When I became a teenager, I had to become an adult and protect my mother and brother. So, play was a thing of the past. However, I will always cherish my childhood experiences of play.

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Today, our children have different environments they live in. Many don’t have yards to play in or areas in their own home to pretend in. They need opportunities to play.  Even my own children didn’t have the ability to roam the neighborhood when they were young. We did however create an area in our home that was for play, and my husband and I played with our children. We also took them to the park, or the lake so they could have outside experiences. Many of my students today don’t have yards to play in and may not have their own room. Yet, I have seen a dining room turned into a play area, or the kitchen floor being a place to play. Even without a big house you can set apart an area for children to play.

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My wish for our children today is that they can use their imagination and creativity through healthy play experiences. Joan Almon stated, “Play helps children weave together all elements of life as they experience it. It allows them to digest life and make it their own. It is an outlet for the fullness of their creativity, and it is an absolutely critical part of their childhood” (Almon, p. 1, 2002).

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I love to interact with my students through play. It is fun when they invite me into their imaginary play and give me instructions of who I am or what they want me to do. One day I was told that I was the daughter and I was in trouble because I didn’t go to school. Another day I was told that I was the Auntie and I drove us to the beach so we could have a picnic. We brought food, a blanket, and toys to play with. When we arrived at the beach we went swimming and the water was cold so we jumped up and down in the water. My students are creative and each day is a new adventure. My favorite type of play is when we use household items and make them into an imaginary place. I have gone camping with a sheet and an empty paper towel holder for my flashlight. Or I have pretended that a rock was my car and I went to the mall. You don’t need real toys to use your imagination. Have an extraordinary week!

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Tammy

Reference

Almon, K. (2002). The vital role of play in early childhood education.

                        Gateways, 43, Retrieved from

http://www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org/pdf/BAPPlay

Almon.pdf.

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “My Connections to Play

  1. I miss the days when children had the freedom to play and explore in nature. I grew up in a similar environment. Unfortunately, too many children now will never have the opportunity to experience that as addiction to technology coupled with parents’ fear for their child’s safety keeps them indoors.

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    1. Hello Kristen,
      Thank you so much for replying to my blog posting. Yes, it is sad that exploring nature is a thing of the past for many of our children. That is why I encourage going to the beach or to the park. Have a marvelous week!
      Tammy

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  2. Hi Tammy,

    I enjoyed reading your blog about play this week. Play is such a natural and important facet of childhood. It is interesting to see how much it impacts children’s development and learning. I appreciate you share your personal experiences with play and its nice that your grandmother would join you in your play as well. Finding ways to incorporate play in your classroom is a great way to advocate for the child.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Danielle

    Like

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