My younger sister used to poke me when I wouldn’t play with her. My first strategy was to tell her to leave me alone and…
Video games are built on someone else’s story line or algorithms, while structured activities like soccer or swimming have specific outcomes. The type of play children need is not based on putting things into them, but drawing out what already exists inside. In play, the goal is not to push a form onto a child but rather to free their spirit to explore, discover, and to express itself.
Many things masquerade as play but do not meet the criteria for true play, such as video games or structured activities.
After my children witnessed a theft at a retail store they broke out in alarm-based play at home. Unsavoury characters like “Stick up Steve” and “Break out Bob” started to appear. When Steve and Bob were caught after much crashing, banging, and screaming, they were given a lecture and trapped under the stairs so they couldn’t hurt anyone else. In an effortless and timely manner, play answered their emotional world and provided release with safety included. When deprived of true play, emotional expression will be thwarted, leaving a child’s behaviour increasingly restless and more prone to outbursts. The emotional system needs to move. When it comes to a standstill, it is catastrophic for functioning and well-being: pent-up emotion takes on a life of its own, leading to potential explosions of great intensity. One of the best prescriptions for a child’s troubled emotional world is play. It is nature’s true therapy.
One of the beautiful things inherent in play is that it ultimately answers to whatever expression is required in the child at the time.
In play, the goal is. not to push a form onto a child but rather to free their spirit to explore, discover, and to express itself.
Instead of seeing boredom as something we need to fix, we need to reframe it as the child’s internal world calling them to play.