Monday, February 25, 2008

A playing child is a creative child

I grew up near a river and lake in a village with a trickle of a creek down the center that kept me endlessly entertained as I hunted for the frogs, tadpoles, worms and lizards. From these fond memories gone by, I spent this Sunday watching the kids play in the village. The play ground was unusually packed with children playing all manner of games.

It is amazing to see how much time kids spend playing either in the swings, pushing each other round and round, jumping from one monkey bar to another, playing soccer, or communing with cows, birds, insects and more. Nature is truly a laboratory for curiosity. The shortest walk can reveal never-before-seen wonders: live things, dead things, flora and fauna.
Sometimes we tend to moan over the amount of time our children spend playing. Remember when the goal of parenting was to develop a well-rounded child? That concept seems to be getting lost in the hyped-up quest for excellence and achievement that characterizes childhood these days. The demands on our times are great, leaving children with few possibilities for adventures. But we all know the numerous and undeniable benefits of allowing children and youth to play any kind of game they want, from staying physically fit to learning discipline and teamwork. But there are other lessons to learn about in childhood as well, like their relationship to the earth and the living things around them. They soon learn to appreciate what is around them.

A playing child is a creative childThe outdoor activities offer children and youth opportunities to learn, inspire them to explore, to wonder, to listen, to dream, to play fantasy games and build forts and sand castles, to dig holes and float sticks down streams and skip rocks across water. In those moments, they can feel powerful in a different way from when we score a point or catch a pass. It is not that it is better, but it’s different. And our children in SOS deserve lots of different experiences. As caregivers, let us not forget the value of getting kids out in the great outdoors. Show them a place where things grow wild, no one is keeping score and they will have memories to last a lifetime. Let us remember that a playful child will always be a creative child.

by Fredrick Ochieng - Youth Leader Coordinator

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, by children playing they grow up healthier. Reading this article took me back to my chilhood days. Sometimes I pass by where children are playing and my inner childhood feels like joining in. I support your sentiments "let children be children: let them play"