The RIGHT Kind of Play

I admit to feeling like I had a play deficit when my children were little. So much so that I used to make myself feel pretty guilty because as an early childhood educator I felt like I should be better at ‘PLAY’. What I discovered is that I just play differently. And guess what. So do you!

We all play differently. I found that I like play that is active or has action. Others like to play board and/or card games that are more quiet. While still others enjoy the make believe and dress up adventures. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is just play. Pure and simple. Play. Play is face to face with the children in your life. Engaging their mind and body while creating strong relationships. Back and forth communication.  I guess my message really is don’t over analyze how you play or if you play is good enough or right enough.

Just play.

Pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit and tell me how you like to play with the children in your life.

Lori Korthals, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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4 thoughts on “The RIGHT Kind of Play

  1. I remember feeling the same way Lori. But then when I actually got into the play with my children I felt guilty that I was not being an adult.. . . sad paradox, However, I think I liked the make believe play the most. I recently found pictures of myself as an 8 year old playing pioneer and Indians with my cousins. I had a dishtowel tied around my waist, a headband of fabric from my mothers sewing basket and a stick with twine string secured to both ends. We didn’t have an adult directing our play(however someone snapped the photo). My kids were the same way – creating and playing out scenarios inside and outside with whatever props they could assemble.
    thanks for stimulating some really fun memories!

  2. I was a kid who got to experience, and liked, all types of play. During the daylight hours and good weather I was outside with my siblings playing sports. We often played with dogs and cats although they didn’t like my attempts to dress them in doll clothes. We too played lots of make believe – store, housekeeping, good guys and bad guys, cowboys and Indians. I remember playing “house” in the feed shed or the abandoned hog house. Loved making those mud pies. Then when it was time to be inside the cards and board games came out. We played our hearts out without knowing about all the positive learning taking place. Not surprising then that I played with my kids and grandkids the same way – both active and quiet – whatever seemed appropriate at the time.

  3. I think it is also interesting to note how play changes as your children change and develop. My family of tweens and teens laughs easily when we are all together, but the play is more verbal – sharing stories about our days, catching each other saying crazy things, problem solving by adding outlandish ideas to the pot of solutions because mom always says, “All ideas are welcome!” During the first big snow storm my crew build a 10 foot snow man, and the two younger boys enjoy tossing a football around the yard, but it is the day to day verbal play that has them most engaged these days.

  4. You’re right Cindy – play can change as children grow and develop. Your family of tweens and teens know how to play because they learned to play when they were young. I’m guessing they will become playful adults. 🙂

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