Let them just play!

Albert Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

How true that is for our young kids. Play is said to be a child’s work and if you really think about it, that just makes sense. Through play a baby learns about the world around him – important things that will help him to function through each stage of life ahead. Through play, toddlers learn to communicate and relate to others. Play is just plain important.

Unfortunately, in our busy lives and with the pressures of getting our kids into the right schools, we have a tendency to throw the idea of “play” into a closet somewhere to pursue “more valuable” activities. Yet moms need to be reminded that children learn best through play and that true play is essential to the development of your child.

So let’s talk about P.L.A.Y.!


Play should be PLANNED. Now I’m not saying here that you need to structure every moment of play time – in fact, I’m saying just the opposite. The purpose and planning is only for you to insure that your child has a good chunk of play time in the schedule daily. For many moms, that means scheduling it in! We lead full and busy lives so pull out your calendar and mark of some play time for your child.


Toys should be LIMITED. I can’t stress this one enough. The temptation is to go out and buy every techy and plastic toy in the toy store. Except for maybe some blocks, puzzles and a baby doll, don’t do it! A child’s best toys are those in nature and around your house. Give them real pots and pans to “cook” with. Keep a stash of boxes in various sizes around and you’ll keep preschoolers busy for hours. Markers, crayons and scrap paper should be accessible at all times. Just limit the actual toys. You’ll be amazed at how creative your kids can be and how their minds can grow and expand just by limiting the amount of toys you buy.

Make sure there is time for ACTIVE play. You may need to schedule this in too. Your child needs time for quiet indoor play but he also needs to just get outside and run! Don’t think that has to mean a play date at the park every day – it could be as simple as playing in the back yard for an hour with a rake and a hose or doing relay races with a sibling.


And then, of course, there is the YOU factor. Although it’s important that your child have independent play time, the best thing you can do is play with your child daily. Get down on his level and interact based on what he is doing. Involve yourself in his imaginary play and have fun doing it.

Are you interested in reading more articles about children and play? Then visit the About.com All About Parenting Blog Carnival when you CLICK HERE.

3 thoughts on “Let them Play!

  1. Interesting article especially how you used the Play as an acrostic. I like the way you talk about independent play as well as playing with the kids- this is a hard balance for some parents because it’s so different with each child but totally necessary.

    The kids played with small water spray guns for plants for a long time this warm weekend. Who would have thought they could get so much fun.

    Thanks for the link also- You’re a star!

    Melitsas last blog post..Listen’to Play with BAM radio

  2. I agree that we are getting further and further away from allowing children to play. It is such an important thing, espeically for young children.

    Today is actually Kindergarten Day. The idea of Kindergarten was first brought about by Friedrich Froebel in 1837. His idea was that these young children learn best through playing and song. There is so much work going on in Kindergarten today that I think that we are getting to far away from how children learn best.

    I agree: Let Them Play!

    Lisas last blog post..It’s Kindergarten Day!

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve long felt that kids need to play – not sit in a desk and have “reading” crammed down their throats. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a teacher and TOTALLY believe that reading is critical. But I’m convinced that kids will learn to read because they have had the life experiences that have prepared them for it.

    I also totally agree with the idea that kids don’t need a whole lot of toys – in fact I just wrote an article for Secular Homeschooling Magazine about that very idea. We spent twelve months in 2006-07 bicycling around the USA and Mexico with our kids. In the beginning they each had a few toys and they took them out to play with during every break we took. But within a few days all those toys were forgotten about and they boys were playing with rocks, sticks, and pinecones. It was wonderful to watch.

    Now we’re getting ready to take off again – this time we’ll ride from Alaska to Argentina. I’m sure my boys will have more fun than ever with Mother Nature’s toys!

    You can read about our journey at http://www.familyonbikes.org

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