"The Value of Play"

Since Riley & I didn't have much of a summer together, I've been trying to make up our days apart by making Monday afternoons, "our time"! I take her to her swim lesson down in Seal Beach, we stop by McDonald's for the world famous Happy Meal, and then we head to my house. What do we do? Nothing! We may read some books together, we may play together, or Riley says, "we hang out"! She just turned four last month and I love this age. I wish she wouldn't get any older. Yesterday afternoon I was watching her play and could have watched that forever. I read the poem below not too long ago, and it reminded me of the simplicity of little kids just "playing"! Nothing more, nothing less, just playing in their own little make believe worlds!

You say that you love your children,
And are concerned that they learn today,
As am I, that's why I'm providing
A variety of kinds of play.
You are asking what's the value
Of having your children play?
Your daughter's creating a tower,
She may be a builder someday.

You're asking me the value
Of blocks and sand and clay.
Your children are solving problems,
They will use that skill every day.

You're saying that you don't want your son
To play in that sissy way.
He's learning to cuddle a doll,
He may be a father someday.

You're questioning the interest centers,
They just look like useless play.
Your children are making choices,
They'll be on their own someday.

You're worried your children aren't learning
And later they'll have to pay.
They're learning a pattern for learning,
For they'll be learners always.

I have to say I'm already looking forward to next Monday afternoon, and I know my little girl is too. She told me so!!


Vintage Market Place said...

Aww, those pictures and words are so precious.
I love to sit and watch Brooklyn, at his age it is all still so new and when he just sits down to stack things or grabs a book and sits to read...well I just want to put it in a time capsule to remember forever.
Play is so so important and this is why I get so mad at our school systems for taking away playtime, and recess. My imagination was at is best at recess and I don't understand them taking this most precious time away from our children.
Take care and play away

Blooming Rose Musings said...

You have touched on a very important subject. I have found that lately there is so much "manufactured play" and not enough individual "imagination play". It is so wonderful to watch a child create and use their own imagination...not just what the manufactured amusement parks supply. There is room for both but when a child can create fun for themselves by using their own imagination and playing with their friends...and Grandma's...it is such a significant part of growth. I can see Riley is very good with her imagination and loves her Grandma very much! What a beautiful relationship.

Boogieboard Cottage said...

I was a preschool teacher for many years, and I indeed do know the importance of play. Even "onlooker play" where children are sitting to the side watching others play is learning time for them. They are making decisions as to which kids and activities they want to participate in. I used to get some parents who panicked if their child wasn't participating with other children every second. And "Solitary play" as Riley is doing in your pictures is very important. She is developmentally ahead if she can occupy herself like that instead of having to have an adult occupy her at all times. One activity I always love to introduce children to is art. I would get old adult sized t-shirts, completely cut them down the back and add velcro. These make great painting aprons for kids. I'd set up easles outside on the grass with paints and just let them explore and get as messy as they wanted! Art helps eye/hand coordination and children learn how the write eariler plus many other things. Children need play also to develope the fine and major motor skills. I really have a lot of great memories from those days, it makes me smile to remember them. Take care, Mary

The Boston Lady said...

Riley is so pretty and obviously a smart little girl who can use her imagination to amuse herself. Your readers above have said it all. Children today (and when my kids were small) don't have enough time to just play in an unstructured way. I believe it creates kids who cannot amuse themselves and are easily bored and adults who cannot see the possibilities in life.

A cardboard box is a child's best toy!

So glad you have your treasured Monday afternoons. Ann

Maureen said...

A standing date with your granddaughter is a wonderful thing. And very important down-time for both of you!

trash talk said...

The words and the photos of Riley were a perfect blend of magic! Playing leads to dreaming and dreaming leads to reaching out and trying the impossible! Loved this post and I really love that first photo of your beautiful Riley!