Play is beneficial for a body’s physical development. This is a research-based, common-sense fact.
From fine and gross motor skills to building strength and endurance, one can be easily inundated with research backing the physical benefits of play. In fact, I’m not sure you would be able to find anyone who disagrees that play is not an important aspect of a person’s physical development.
However, describing play with words like academic or emotional and you may start hearing people sing a different tune. Play is often ignored for the academic opportunities and advantages it offers. Play is often neglected when considering the positive impacts it has on emotional development. Many see play as simplistic. How can we expect children to complete the responsibilities needed to be completed at school and at home when we let them play? Some consider play a waste of time or even a break from real work. Others see it as important for young children, but distracting and detrimental to older children, especially once those children become school-aged. And don't even get some started on the idea of adults playing. What an incredible waste of time and energy.
Or is it?
As much of the world prepares for a post-pandemic return to “normal”, it is important to think about how this pandemic impacted the social and emotional well-being of people of all ages. Many children were yanked out of their schools. Many adults were forced into juggling more school responsibilities on top of an already busy work life. Business owners and employees alike had their work lives flipped upside down, many never having the opportunity to even have a chance to come back to normal. In short, the pandemic will leave lasting impacts on the social and emotional development and the health of many, many people.
So how can we put the social and emotional health of all at the forefront of this new “normal?”
Maybe we can focus on something that seems simple and easy. Maybe we can focus less on catching up and more on pivoting into a whole new world of play. Maybe the new normal doesn't have to be new or normal at all. Maybe we can return to our roots and do what comes naturally.
Join me on a journey to learn and explore why the health of our children, adults, and world might just be dependent on the power of play.