Did you know play is work? As an adult, we can play for a bit and sadly, it can wear us out. But for kids play is their work. It’s how they learn! Of course, we all would agree that’s true for the baby, toddler and preschool set. So much work to sort out this great big world. Having fun while learning (playing) is crucial to the continuance of the process. No one wants to work and work without having fun. That’s downright discouraging. Laughter makes it all worthwhile!
But have you considered that playing and learning continue on hand in hand for possibly our entire lives? Our elementary age kids, our pre-teens and, dare I say, our teenagers all benefit from playtime! Oh yes, there’s organized sports which is a form of play and there’s after school clubs like chess for a different type of play. But I’m talking about playing that occurs within the family. It may not be “cool” and it may take a lot of effort to coordinate, but the benefits are numerous.
It forms a bond between family members and creates memories that will be mentioned years down the road. Trust me, I know! If your child is sick or hospitalized for extended times, play is a big part of their healing process. It is essential for developing social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills in children. As adults, play can help us relax and give us a much needed break from work, technology and the daily stress of life! It can boost our powers of imagination, creativity and problem-solving. Actively playing with our kids can lighten our mood and it just might make our kids smarter, better adjusted, and less stressed as well. It might help you feel younger, more energetic and better equipped to keep a pulse on your kids!
So, you need a little motivation to be intentional about play beyond those reasons just mentioned? No problem. Here you go. Play in May! Can you do it? Could you turn it into help for others? Check out what the Starlight Children’s Foundation is up to now. It’s really cool and totally doable! Join them from May 1 to May 15, as they invite folks to commit to playing any kind of game for 15 minutes a day for 15 days. Players can create their own personalized fundraising websites at www.SupportStarlight.org, and then it’s as simple as asking friends, neighbors and family members to sponsor their play. Then get your game on! This is a great opportunity for families to come together to play – board games, outside time, or one of the kids’ favorite video games – while helping to bring the healing power of play to hospitalized kids. Teen actress Bailee Madison explains in this video!
Our favorite games you ask? We pull out Jenga, Guess Who, Trouble, Sorry, Operation, Mousetrap, Battleship, Candyland, Life, Clue, Yahtzee, Monopoly (we own four versions!) and Perfection routinely. But we are partial to games that are a little off the beaten path like Set, Blokus, Flip Out, What’s Gnu?, Skippity, In a Pickle, LCR, Quirkle, Apples to Apples Jr., Headbanz, Mastermind, Word on the Street Jr., Konexi, Sequence (many versions!), Rhyme Out and the Magic Kingdom Game.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Educated parent, don’t let playtime be missing from your family! Grab your calendar and block out some time for family games! Even 15 minutes is worth it! You’ll thank me later because the families that play together, stay together!
What’s your favorite family game? How do you sneak in game time with your family?