Looking back on my childhood, I can vividly remember playing.
I would play with my grandparents. I would play in the garden while my grandmother deadheaded plants and my grandfather cleaned the kitchen. I would use the table on their porch to make a fort. I’d collect lightening bugs, pretend play all day! I remember playing with them in their basement, using the toys and games my mother and aunts grew up on and laughing with them.
I would play with my parents. My dad would take me to the park and we would swing whenever he wasn’t working or sleeping, protecting our community as an officer. My mom would always have activities for me to do. We would do a craft, play a game, do some puzzles or work books. I vividly remember playing in my own room, my parents giving me plenty of space and opportunity to play. I would create play scenarios all the time with my little people, barbie dolls, or stuffed animals. My imagination was defiantly given room to play.
I would play with my friends. We would act out scenarios and play all day. We would play outside, inside, we would concoct plans and dreams!
I know that I was afforded many opportunities to practice my skills and grow. I did lots of workbooks as a child (I would crush them! I truly enjoyed doing every page), or play flashcard games and educational things with my mom…but more than that, I remember the fun I had playing and pretending. I know that my genuine creativity, love aesthetics, and my attention to detail really came from my opportunities for play that I was lucky enough to have and be supported in.
Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good. Lucia Capocchione
Play Today vs the Play of Yesterday
The thing that really stands out to me is outdoor and active play is so different today, and there is much less of it. In the play of yesterday, I think about hopping on my bike and riding to a friends house a few neighborhoods away; I remember playing music on a boom box and strapping on my roller skates and going around and around the driveway, or the basement. I remember setting up games by the pool or sprinkler and playing one after another with my family.
I know that the things that resonate with me about my childhood and play are not the movies and tv shows, or video games that we played – though we did play some, and I did enjoy my fair share of TV…that is not what I remember. I remember the time spent running and playing and the important skills the independence of doing these things on my own.
It stood out to me once, reading an article about how a mother and a father were reported to Children and Youth, Arrested and detained because they allowed their children to walk to and from the park on their own and their neighbors viewed this as negligent. Play and being outdoors, being able to problem solve on our own and develop independence are so hindered by the world we live in today.
Play, intrinsically rewarding, doesn’t cost anything; as soon as you put a price on it, it becomes, to some extent, not play. Stephen Nachmanovitch
See the following blog post to learn more about some of my most essential play items from my younger years!
See the following blog post to reflect on play in childhood vs play as an adult!