Every Creature Loves to Play
Every creature in life starts out loving to play. Generally, play is an activity done for enjoyment and recreation. Many have witnessed baby kittens, young puppies, little otters, lions, cubs, juvenile elephants, primates, and all sorts of critters, frolicking and having fun in the art of play. The seeds of playing, when well planted, yield profound and practical fruit. The 1921 Nobel Prize winner and physicist Albert Einstein described playing as "the highest form of research." The activity of playing is good for society at large because it helps to produce well-developed adults. Through play, a child can adequately learn, develop new skills, and relate to others. When a child learns by playing, it is called play-based learning.
While growing up, I remember spending much time running and playing in the schoolyard. As a youngster, although I was somewhat short, I was a swift runner. Only a few kids my age were able to beat me running.
I remember having a friend who was even shorter than I was, but he was a pretty fast runner himself. We all used to enjoy seeing him run and were amazed at how quickly his legs could move. I still harbor memories of how, as youngsters, we spent a lot of time running around in the neighborhood with friends, throwing rocks, and enjoying childhood games. My younger brother was a very skilled rock thrower. He eventually became a pitcher on our little league baseball team.
Like so many children, we had a lot of fun riding bicycles, roller skating, jumping rope, playing baseball and basketball, playing checkers, and other games. By doing those things, I was able to grow and develop and acquire many valuable skills.
Play is the highest form of research.— Albert Einstein
Skills for Life
Some people may think of early childhood activities as just "child's play." However, childhood frolicking helps to build character and skills that last a lifetime. Some of those skills can prove to be extremely profitable. According to Angela Searcy and Antoinette Taylor, play-based learning is one of the best gifts we can offer our children. Both women are Educational consultants and Professors in the Illinois educational system.
Searcy and Taylor teach that play-based learning has many benefits for children, such as:
- Better cognitive skills
- Oral language development
- Pro-social skills
- Memory development
- Academic performance
Play allows freedom of movement, which is essential for learning and development.
Good for The Brain
The images, enjoyment, and activity of play produce potent messages in the brain. Those brain messages release chemicals that regulate the flow of information to higher levels of the mind. That information is associated with attention, processing, motivation, concentration, memory, and produces an elevated mood. All of those things lead to a love of learning. Play-based learning builds better brains, which allows children to handle whatever future challenges await them. MRIs show that the whole brain lights up in play. Playing produces goal-orientated attention, working memory, and impulse control. Those changes help children to regulate emotions, make plans, and problem solve.
Playing Increases Knowledge
Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget was famous for his study of the thought patterns in children.
Piaget revealed that, while playing children:
- Grow in knowledge
- Make discoveries
- Combine new information with previous information
- Develop conflict resolution skills
- Develop an overall positive approach to learning
Studies show that children deprived of proper playtime gravitate toward violent crimes. Lack of playing also stunts the development of muscle fiber and decreases adequate brain functioning. Communication and social skills diminish from lack of play. Play deprivation also hampers problem-solving skills.
A Foundation to Build a Life
The benefits of play help us tremendously in adulthood. When starting a new activity, project, job, business, or career, for instance, those early fledgling days of childhood activity often produce life's gold nuggets.
Some children start out kicking or throwing a ball and later became millionaire athletes. Some go from building cardboard skyscrapers to developing prestigious real estate projects. Many kids have pretended to be singing on stage and have turned out to be award-winning performers. Playing is not just "child's play," but a foundation for building a life.
Danniels, E. (2018, February). Play-based learning: Defining Play-based Learning. Retrieved August 02, 2020, from http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/play-based-learning/according-experts/defining-play-based-learning
Early Childhood, S. (2016, July 01). Play-Based Learning...It's More Than Fun and Games. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/ObiMpB923oI
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Robert Odell Jr