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Friday, July 5, 2013

The Priority Of Play

Lessons Learned…
From A Garden of Play

To be able to problem solve is unquestionably an extremely desirable and highly useful skill. Problem solving requires a mind that sees connections and extrapolations, it requires considerable confidence, and it must be carefully cultivated. Problem solving grows from seeds of divergent thinking which grow from seeds of creativity which are watered, weeded, and sunshined in the childhood garden of unstructured, fully imaginative, and wonder-filled play. The priority of this sort of play is critical, for the impact and power of this sort of play desperately underestimated. Kids need to play. Creatively play. With duct tape, tinfoil, pipe cleaners, rocks, boxes, old socks, and all of the things all around them that can readily become something else with a pinch of imagination. All children have imaginations. One of my students informed me that imaginations live under people’s hair. Absolutely right. All children love to play. They must play. Have we traded forts out of blankets for technology toys? In our pursuit of vast opportunities to enrich our kids, have we enslaved ourselves and our kids to schedules so structured that there’s little to no time left for unstructured play?  Have we sacrificed the garden of play for captivating screens and a light speed, leave-you-breathless pace? Have we maintained a healthy balance in our culture of extremes and superlatives? What are our children learning from our choices? If we are to cultivate a generation of problem solvers, a generation of well-balanced deep thinkers and innovators, we must, we must let them play.