The title for this blog, Seize the Play, is inspired by the well-known saying Carpe diem: seize the day. Seizing the day is known as making the most of each day. Therefore, seizing the play can be thought of as making the most out of play. Young children instinctively seize the play. They naturally seek out play opportunities and inherently take in all it has to offer. Children’s learning happens at the quickest rate between birth and five years of age. During these years, play is one of the most powerful learning tools we can give them, because play itself, is learning at its best. So why do we as adults need to help children seize the play? Because, to children, play is:
- An experience of interacting with the world around them to better understand their role and further explore their own areas of interests.
- Self-rewarding. Children take pride in their accomplishments and gain confidence that they are competent and capable in their own learning.
- A way of expressing and learning to manage different feelings and emotions.
- Social, an opportunity to interact with others, learn about others and build relationships.
- An active learning process that engages their entire body in a healthy way. In fact, play is instrumental in increasing physical activity in children.
- Fun and supports building a love of lifelong learning. The joyfulness of learning through play fuels the hunger to learn more.
- A natural process of testing their own ideas and limits. It’s time to practice and stretch skills in all areas of development.
As adults, we can be instrumental in advocating for children’s learning. Most importantly, ensuring that children are getting adequate time for un-interrupted play. The deeper children engage in play, the more meaningful it and their learning experiences become. Given enough time, play becomes a cycle of learning; children test their ideas, make discoveries, formulate questions, find answers and create new questions to explore.
This process may challenge them with obstacles or failures, but with persistence and resiliency, they will keep playing and master skills that support their ongoing development. Play is, above all, a cherished part of childhood and it is crucial that we as adults support children to seize the play each and every day.