I Love To Watch You Play
Play. It is described as so many things; an activity for enjoyment, the work of a child, a voluntary and intrinsically motivated action. Once you start to study play you will learn there are many different types of play; parallel play, solitary play, cooperative play. It is a hot topic in the field of early learning and at ABC Head Start. You can often watch ABC Head Start staff observing the classroom and saying things like "Wow, look at them engage so beautifully in cooperative play!" Ok well maybe you hear that more in June, then in September but either way, we are obsessed with play. And for good reason! We are a "learning through play" environment. Research shows that children learn best when they are engaged in fun, enjoyable activities that challenge their creativity and curiosity.
All of this being said, I truly believe a pillar of play is human connection. After all, attachment and belonging is one of our basic human needs - without it we suffer. When children are playing they often look to the adults in their life for assurance and encouragement, and I would argue that this encouragement is as essential as the play itself. It's the old "WATCH ME! WATCH ME!" And your reaction is as significant as the activity. It doesn't have to be elaborate, in fact it can be very simple.
Author Rachel Macy Stafford, wrote a phenomenal article called 6 Words You Should Say Today, talking about the reaction you have to your children's play and activities. I truly believe EVERYONE should read it and start saying those 6 words TODAY. And of course, get out and PLAY!