(Originally posted at Rational Jenn)
We've returned from a dirty, dusty, adventure-filled afternoon at the sooper-dee-dooper deluxe playground. Many of our homeschool friends were there, too.
All of us mommies stood around and talked about babies (the ones here and the ones almost here) and, oddly enough, the stimulus package. I was pleasantly surprised to find that we were all in general agreement about the main points--nice, that.
As we mommies chatted and wrangled various toddlers, we watched the older kids run and jump off of high play equipment, fill their pockets with dirt and rocks (Ryan), make dirt angels (Morgan), organize armies (guess who?), breathe fresh air, settle disputes, soak up sunshine . . . in other words, just play.
My kids in particular really needed an afternoon like this, as they have been ricocheting off of the walls lately. They are dirty and exhausted and happy right now. We have a sitter tonight, so I'm hopeful they'll be nice and chill while she's here.
Anyway, the whole reason I started this post is to link you to a timely article from Scientific American called "The Serious Need for Play." From the beginning of the article:
- Childhood play is crucial for social, emotional and cognitive development.
- Imaginative and rambunctious “free play,” as opposed to games or structured activities, is the most essential type.
- Kids and animals that do not play when they are young may grow into anxious, socially maladjusted adults.
As a general rule, Brendan and I try to err on the side of providing them more freedom, more space, and more time--the better for them to make their own discoveries, to be independent, to get to know the world, to be happy.
Anyway, interesting article. Go check it out!