Usually when there is talk about the importance of play, it is usually focused on children who are preschool or kindergarten age.  There are countless studies about how playing dress up or grocery store helps children’s social, physical, language and cognitive growth.   Play is used to help assess children’s development and help them to process emotions.  Play is important!

What is play?  To me, it is unstructured time for people, young and old to explore, interact and discover things.

Unfortunately, just like so many other artistic endeavors, play seems to stop at a certain age.  In schools, play can even be seen as a waste of time past first or second grade as students are required to do so much in the world of academia.  However, teachers who find themselves at recess duty will often comment on how much they learn about students as they observe their actions on the playground.

There is a place for play at all ages.  It should not be just for young children.  Recess is crucial for older students as is other free time during the day.  Middle and secondary students would also benefit from some time to explore new things and discover the world around them.  And something I  find time and again is that adults need time to be free and play too!  Give an adult a chance to play around with some finger paint or drum sticks or a wide open dance floor pulsing with music and you may find a smile creep onto his or her face.

It’s unfortunate that the older we get, the more inhibited we are to be free and play.  It seems that once we hit a certain age of self awareness, our ability to play dwindles at a rapid speed.

So what do we do about this?  My solution is to create these times and to drag other people along for the ride.  That’s one of the reasons why I started organizing Teacher Field Trips: times when teachers can get out together to do something fun and just play!

After all, we all need a little playtime.  Don’t you agree?  😉


Join the conversation tonight!  Renee (@enrichingkids) from Creative Sitters is having a Twitter Party.  The topic? The Importance of Play  When? September 30, 2010 at 9:00 EST

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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One Comments

  1. rgriffithjr says:

    Yes, I agree. Learning begins with play, and play is necessary. It’s good for you. Not only helping you to get rejuvenated, but it is a right-brain activity that gets creativity started.

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