Fridays with Franky: The Right To Play!
Hi Everyone! It’s me Franky once again sharing my words of wit with you this fabulous Friday! I want to continue on the theme I started last week and that is the importance of play in our lives. Sadly, as many of you may know, it is not getting its due in our schools or in our homes. Too often it is not considered as important as such intellectual pursuits of studying, practicing or rehearsing, yet people are discovering that play is extremely critical to healthy physical, social, emotional and yes, even intellectual development in children and youth (and I would ponder that it is probably pretty darn important for adults to engage in it frequently for their health as well!).
Now, don’t just take my word on this! More and more researchers are seeing the value of play and its correlation to greater success in school and in life. Walter F. Drew, EdD, recently penned an article (Make Way for Play: Having the Freedom to Play Puts Your Child on the Road to Learning Success-In Life!) discussing the benefits of free play in our children. He suggests (with much support) that free, unstructured play “is the most reliable form of self-education and discovery children can have. It gives them a safe context to try out new things and ways of being.”
Wow! That sounds a lot like camp. Now parents, before you recoil at the thought of your daughters running through camp willy nilly, please know that free, unstructured play does not mean unsupervised and unsafe! A free and unstructured time for play at camp often includes the counselors or activity leaders involved in that play – engaging in it, but not leading or directing it! This might occur in the cabin after a meal or during cabin time or during an activity when the leader lets them simply choose what they want to do.
Anyway, Dr. Drew goes on to share the incredible benefits of free play in kids – they learn…
- Character Virtues. Children develop a unique sense of self-worth from being creative.
- Social Skills. Research shows that make-believe games provide kids with opportunities to learn group dynamics.
- Physical Development. Free play helps build strength, coordination, competence, and a sense of body awareness in space.
- Self-Discovery. Kids need time to be kids-to write, think, dream, draw, build, dance, fantasize. That’s how they discover their likes and dislikes!
So, let’s start setting up our children for success… demand more recess!! Or better yet, a summer at WeHaKee Camp for Girls! Thanks for joining me and have a great weekend!