You may have noticed that the aged care home scenes in When I See Grandma, have the young boy playing with older residents (in this picture he's playing 'peek-a-boo'). Play can be a most effective tool for connection with others across apparent barriers. So when I saw the NY Times headline: "Let the Kids Learn Through Play?" I couldn't resist clicking - it's a pet topic of mine, because play is so important - for all of us, not just the kids. But let's start with them...
The article cites research that suggests that the current push for formalised, didactic teaching to help our kids get ahead in this competitive world may in fact, be backfiring. To quote, abandoning play for teacher-led formal instruction "may have the opposite effect, potentially slowing emotional and cognitive development, causing unnecessary stress and perhaps even souring kids’ desire to learn." You can read the full article here - it is well worth it.
It's not only children who benefit from play. Stuart Brown, the pioneer researcher on play, has found: "Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age." You can watch his TED Talk here)
As one article put it - Einstein said: “'Play is the highest form of research.' There is, the theory goes, a reason Archimedes shouted “Eureka!” in the bath, not the laboratory." (Quoted from The Guardian)
And from Psychcentral: "Play brings joy. And it’s vital for problem solving, creativity and relationships."
So let's ensure that everyone, young and old, has time to play - and to keep playing - for life!
PS Play is clearly also essential for writing - but that's another post!!