Playing is having fun, being creative, and being yourself in a way that you stop everything else going on and just enjoy. Any activity that encompasses this definition is truly play.
I remember when I was a kid I would come home and do homework for 20 minutes and then play. I played Legos with my little brother ALL the time. We played Lego Star Wars, Lego power miners, Lego Harry Potter, and Lego Pirates of The Caribbean. We spent hours each day and we had a great time. For example, one day in fifth grade I cried because I didn’t have time to play Legos that day due to “Homework”. Trust me Legos were everything. My brother and I were creative. We made obstacle courses for our minifigures, drew with sharpie on others, and made our own minifigures by mixing and matching. I truly had a great time doing this and wish I could come home and do this today.
Play is essential to the upbringing of children. However, as generations pass, school has become the dominant time consuming powerhouse in everyone’s life from ages 10-25ish. As a result, kids spend less time playing due to the mass availability of technology in U.S and increasing school pressure. Is this a good thing? NO
Play actually teaches us skills for the real world. For example, while playing legos you learn how to create your OWN structures, MAKE up your own scenario, COMMUNICATE and GET ALONG with those playing with you. Trust me this is helpful as the older you get, the more you hate creativity.
This past thursday, our school celebrated Global School Play day. It was an awesome experience! However, I admit it felt so weird having fun in school that I didn’t know what to do. I think it was successful, but as students we didn’t know how to handle such an occasion. Trust me, students are not prepared to have fun in school anymore. Our teacher even pointed out how defeated we looked before “playtime ” in the class that we would literally play for 50 minutes in. Me and a couple of classmates spent the time playing Clue, it was pretty amazing playing the game with AP caliber students who literally go crazy and hate losing. Next year, I recommend setting up a class google doc, so we know exactly what others are bringing to play. As a result we would know what games to expect and not waste our “playtime” in school. (Note: this only happened in my P. 3 English class)
I cannot explain how odd it was having fun in a place that I associate with fear, negativity, and boredom.
So to all of those strict, tiger parents out there. Please let your kids enjoy until high school. In a society that is becoming more and more competitive, people seem to skip over childhood. This is why play is declining, especially in America. People are so caught up in winning and doing well in life that they forget about the little things like playing. These little things are what make life worth living and make us want to succeed. Parents want us to be the best (best college, best job, best house etc..), but in the meantime they make our present life the worse. Money can only take you so far YOU NEED SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR.
And in today’s society we are progressing in a way in which once we achieve everything we had dreamed of, we would be lost as souls because in the rat race of life we would have lost the ability to live.
Looking back, I really wish I was a kid again. Sleeping at 9 P.M., free time every day, and no worries (I am sure every adult misses this too). Trust me, the bright days of childhood quickly turn into the dark nights of adulthood. Before you know it your kid will be at school from 8am to 4 pm. taking AP classes, and playing sports only to come home losing sleep over the SAT, grades, and homework. The nights are truly dark and cold…Will dawn ever come?