Growing up with a family of modest means didn’t restrict my opportunities; it freed me to play in so many imaginative ways. My backyard and neighborhood allowed me the freedom to take large cardboard boxes and build a village. The old wagon, lumber, hammer and nails, provided the creative outlet for my siblings and me to make a rickety roller coaster. My mom’s box of scrap fabric and coffee can of buttons gave me the freedom to sew “designer” outfits for my dolls. Scrap paper from my dad’s print shop began my adventures with drawing and writing. I didn’t need video games, computers, or classes to teach me to use what was in my environment to create and grow as a lifelong learner. I learned valuable lessons about making good use of what I had in my environment, appreciating nature and the simple things, the value of balancing work and play, and being creative.
A new beginning
This is the beginning of a series on play. I have used play as a counselor, play therapist, and currently as a teacher of K-5 gifted students. We, together, will explore the value of unstructured and structured play on social-emotional and academic development. As parents, we can help our children develop in ways that frees them to learn and grow, while developing social skills, and it doesn’t have to “break the bank.”
Let your kids be kids. Life goes by fast, so make sure your kids have the chance to be kids before adulthood arrives. You only get one chance at childhood!