The dictionary describes PLAY as “to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.” Well yes
I guess you could describe PLAY this way but when children PLAY it actually shapes their brain. I’d say that was pretty serious. Put it this way it’s certainly pretty serious if they don’t PLAY.
The direct movements associated with PLAY mean that when children physically PLAY, when they move and jump and run and adapt their PLAY, repeat their PLAY, have freedom to PLAY their brains are growing, they are creating new neurological pathways mapping out the functions for it’s survival.
PLAY is one of the fundamental things that a child can do, through PLAY we become ourselves, we physically live. There is a direct relation to mental health issues in adults who have had limited PLAY and in particular ones who have had limited experience playing outside.
Outside provides a wealth of PLAY experiences because it is constantly adapting and changing. Today you only have to switch on the television or look in a paper to see the immense disruption and devastation that our planet has had and is facing. Our outside space is in disrepair, our planet is in a state of emergency and we can’t sit inside and watch it because we still need our outside space and it needs us. Nature needs us. Nature needs us to be out in it, it needs our children to be out in it. It needs to be felt, to be loved and to be understood and the best and easiest way for us to do this, for our children to feel it, is to PLAY in it. PLAY builds connections and we need these connections to our natural world. When we feel the world, when we breath it, we live it and we understand we are part of it.
Outside is there now but it may not always be. So let’s just get out there.
PLAY. OUT. MORE.
* You might like to watch this plasticine animation inspired by Bob Hughes an expert play worker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLhpGpCAt0o