Playing Is The Best

In preparation for a presentation I’ll be giving soon, I’ve spent the last week talking with children about play. Here is some of what they had to say:
“I like swinging the best. Or putting out fires like Fireman Sam.”

“Mud and splashing in puddles is my favorite.”

“You know, playing is just you feel free to do it. You play when you play. Playing is better than when someone else tells you what to do.”

“To play is to have fun with your friends and your family. Playing outside, exploring nature, learning new things together, or bringing your imagination to life.”

“To spend time with your friends and your family. Playing games together. Sharing what you like to do with someone and learning something new from them.”

“No, I’m not done talking. Because, you know playing outside is the best. Because, sticks.”

“Play toys.”

“I think it means to let out your inner child, and have fun with people close to you.”

“It means to take a break and do something fun with your friends.”

“Go outside, mess around, hang out with friends, mess with toys.”

“Play with the dogs, ride bike and just make up games.”

“To play is to get better at your skills and to explore and learn about the things around you.”

“It’s fun for children. I like Star Wars and the Tree House. Star Wars vs Wolfs. I like wolf park, because it has all kinds of fun stuff.”

Kids know that play is the good stuff. In many ways, play is what makes life worth living. We are free when we are at play. We get to make choices, and change our minds if we want to. We can try new things, and even if we fail, it’s okay. When we play with our friends and family, we can strengthen the bonds that we share. We can even come to know ourselves better through the time we spend playing.

Children don’t see play as a waste. Even when they describe play as “messing around”, or “taking a break to do something fun,” it is not a waste. Play brings us joy, and helps us process other, less pleasant emotions.  Play is important. Play is something we all need. As one child put it, “Playing is the best because it’s my favorite. I can just do all the stuff when I play. I just do it. I play trucks, and Batman, and hide and seek. And then I’m happy because playing is the best.”


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