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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The ABCs of Why Play Matters!

Photo by woodleywonderworks (Flickr)

Play offers far more than just fun and games. It is an essential ingredient to a child's physical, emotional, and social development! When kids play, they are exploring natural sources of self-expression, creativity, and learning. So, let's celebrate play using the basic building blocks of education - our ABCs!

A - "Almost all creativity involves purposeful play." - Abraham Maslow

B - Bouncing, jumping, swinging, dancing, sliding, hopping, running! Play is fundamental to gross motor development in children. The more kids move, the more they will understand their bodies.

C - "Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn." - O. Fred Donaldson

D - "Deep meaning lies often in childish play." - Johann Friedrich von Schille

E - "Each of us is of infinite value. Focusing one's whole life on responsibilities, without taking time for self-renewal and play, abandons the joy and the true value of life." - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

F - "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." - Khalil Gibran

G - "Go and play. Run around. Build something. Break something. Climb a tree. Get dirty. Get in some trouble. Have some fun." - Gerald Brom

H - "Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant…. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success." - Louisa May Alcott

I - "It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self." - D.W. Winnicott

J - "Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game." - Michael Jordan

K - Kids need at least one hour of physical exercise each day to fortify their physical health, jump-start their creative problem-solving skills, and prep their brains for absorbing educational material. Playgrounds and sports are a fun way for kids to partake in motion.

L - "Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl

M - "My childhood may be over, but that doesn't mean playtime is." - Ron Olson

N - "Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father." - Roger von Oech

O - Open-mindedness begins on the playground. Play creates a safe, natural environment where kids can engage with others, share ideas, explore a variety of cultures, and find their own voice.

P - "Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn't taste good." - Lucia Capocchione

Q - Quality time spent playing with family and friends creates memories and builds bonds that last a lifetime. As Plato once said, "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

R - Recognize that "humans are social animals, designed to move, built to live and love nature, to grow and mature by doing." - Dr. Matthew Edlund

S - Sensory play invites children to discover the world through their five senses. Both children and adults retain the most information when the senses are engaged. They are direct pathways to the brain, creating more vivid and easily summoned memories. What does the smell of fresh grass remind you of?

T - "The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable." - Carl Jung

U - Understand the cognitive, social, and academic benefits of play, as you add one or more fun activities into your daily routine.

V - Variety is the spice of life! Kids can play alone or in groups, outdoors or indoors, on the playground or deep in the woods. There are endless kinds of toys and crafts to investigate. Each one of these play opportunities has unique benefits.

W - "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw

X - Xylophones are awesome! Playing music "ignites all areas of child development: intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy". Music and dancing create fluid connections between the body and mind. They also provide a means of self-expression for kids!

Y - You should play too! Adults need to play too; it keeps the mind supple, the heart open, and the imagination thriving. What are your hobbies and playful activities of choice?

Z - Zest! Play adds spontaneity and zest to life. Many mundane daily activities such laundry, cleaning, and cooking can be energized when you turn them into games.

We hope you enjoy this playful alphabet of reasons why play matters! What reasons for each letter can you think of? How about the first letter of your name? Sounds like a fun game!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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