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Play IS An Answer

Play IS An Answer

The Mercer Island School District in Washington State has reintroduced tag at recess for the children in their school district. This form of free play exercise has proven to be very beneficial to the children. It helps them strategize, be creative, problem solve, and have fun. This kind of learning environment where the physical nature of play is attached to the brain is fast becoming an excellent way for children to learn and grow.

Allowing kids to experiment and be free seems to be unlocking the brain's desire to learn and grow in a holistic approach. I heard my children say “I can do it myself” or "I want to try it" on numerous occasions when they were growing up. What about how little tikes have to have locks and plugs on things so they don’t get into trouble when they naturally explore their environment? They want to own their experience and adventure even at very young age. Guiding them is the key.

Ever taken your kids to a bowling alley with the bumpers on the sides? When the ball goes down the alley and doesn’t touch the sides we watch and cheer. If the ball bangs along the side we do not pick the child and the ball up and place them both in our lane do we? We let them own it. It’s their journey.

I once told a youth sports organization to give me all the players they didn’t think were good enough to make the “A” team. What did we do? We first had to gain their trust. We talked to them about playing their sport. We gave them some instruction, but then we rolled the ball out and let them play. They did great. They won first place, but more importantly, they had fun.

 By introducing some basic concepts we let them figure out how to get the results. We keep saying how smart kids are these days; well let’s give them multiple chances to prove it.  There is so much riding on the children’s future and their ability to handle this fast paced changing world. Shouldn’t we be spending more of our time coaching and teaching these kids, preparing them for that eventuality?

Written by : Jennifer