Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Let Them Play

Let Them Play
Let Them Play

Excuse me while I step up on my soap box for a moment. Pretend play is where we in fact learn our social skills, how to relate to others and form healthy relationships. If you are not giving your children playtime, even the older ones, then you are missing the point of homeschooling all together. I am a strong advocate for creative playtime, so much so that if you stopped by my house you may think that we are un-schoolers. In reality, my children can often be found on a school day playing at a station, designing something for a doll or stuffed animal or engaged in some other creative play. Many times I have suggested this myself in an effort to get them to dig a little deeper into creativity. Whatever the case may be, this is kind of my soap box if you will, learning through creative play.

While research suggests that creativity and intelligence are only moderately related, problem solving skills and relational ability are present in cognition and likewise perception and focus. In fact, perception and focus are just some of the components present in creative thought progression. Further research also suggests that creativity predicts intelligence and later college performance.

Transformational ability and divergent thinking are cognitive and affective aspects of creativity also present in pretend play. Affective processes include experience and expression, positive affect, affective transformation and use of affective themes in fantasy while cognitive aspects are found in the mediation of emotion.
What is the Goal Then?

So what do all these big fancy words mean? What does it amount to? The goal then for education should be to push creativity, intelligence, memory and learning. Should creativity require self-regulation and intelligence require creativity then it goes to reason that capturing a student’s attention and maintaining that attention would be a key component in exploiting learning. In logical sequence memory and learning will follow.

Creative Play Is Where We Learn to Relate
Let them play. Spend your money on math manipulatives not expensive curriculum. Have them construct a story using a dress up box not a Power Point, although this is a great skill too. They must play to learn, even the older ones. If your child is approaching fourth or fifth grade then you may need to give them assignments that force creative play time and innovation such as designing clothes, constructing robots or writing a drama, but they must play and often times they must be forced to use and focus that fantasy area of their brain. I have to say that my biggest frustration is parents that tell their children to put the dolls and Lego's away. Creative play is never something we should tell our students to stop. It should be something that they never grow out of they simply learn where to apply it. A girl that begins by playing with dolls, progresses to designing doll clothes then learns to sew and care for babies.

You may also want to read Expanding Problem Solving Skills with Drama
Improving Self-Esteem with Adventure Play
Teaching Children About Failure and Affordable Educational Toys.
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