“So childhood is turned from a time of freedom into a time of résumé building.”
Peter Gray couldn’t have encompassed the story of childhood in today’s time any better. From an time of play and freedom to an time of whose grade has the higher letter. Parents think they are giving their kids an head start, but really play is what makes kids smart. Rules, regulations, and restrictions are what make kids dreadful; freedom, fun and fulfillment are what make kids successful. Imagination, ingenuity, creativity; these are the qualities you think of when you are asked to think an successful person. But these qualities can’t be taught by more school and more homework; they are taught by fun and outdoor activity.
Peter follows this up with a interesting point.
We’ve become a worse world for children, not necessarily a worse world for adults.
It is not the kids’ fault that play is declining; it is the adults’ fault for creating an worse world for children to play in, there is no silver lining.
This Spanish song, in English titled “Where Will the Kids Play?” imagines an world where nature and the outdoors have been so polluted and destroyed by adults that children have nowhere to play. An world where children would go outside to play everyday turned into an world will kids can no longer play; an world grown tired and gray.
Playing at school for a hour retaught me something that I had long forgotten. Meeting new people, making new friends, and creating memories are what I have gotten. Unrestrained play is what teaches kids to be social, teaches kids to be kind, and teaches kids imagination, creativity, problem solving, and most importantly teaches kids what it means to be an kid. May sound cheesy, but there kids today that don’t know any other life other than writing essays, doing homework, and graphing on the coordinate grid. Perhaps we are trying to prepare kids to be adults, but by doing that we are hurting their chances of being an kind, social, and understanding adult. We are prohibiting kids from playing because they must instead be doing sports or schoolwork, but an stressed and sad child is the only result.
Taking a hour out of my stressful and impacted day to just play really made me enjoy the gift of being an kid again. Playing an game I had never played, “Clue”, before with some people that I had never met or talked to before, I hadn’t felt so much like I kid since way back when. Making up rules as we go, laughing along as we played, we had so much fun making memories as new friends. I picked Tien, Evan, Harshin, and Ian to play with because they had all never played “Clue”, so I knew that this could only have an good end. It has been years since I had played an board game while having so much fun at the same time, but what I particularly most enjoyed was meeting new people and learning more about who my classmates really are. Perhaps you don’t really know a person until you play with them.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed playing “Clue”, I do wish I had more time to go outside to play soccer or dodgeball. Playing soccer, dodgeball, or basketball with an large group of friends were the times in which I had made the most memories with friends, memories big and small. I really believe I could have gotten to know more people and could have had an lot of fun if I had had more time to play an outdoor activity. Playing outside with others is also one of the best ways to form friendships, strengthen team building skills, and get active while still having fun. Sometimes you forget how tired or hungry you are when you are outside with your friends and are on the run.
This freedom to play with whomever we wanted and whatever we wanted really brought me back memories of my childhood. I still have long lasting memories of playing soccer, building hideouts, playing tag, and meeting an new friend everyday really reminded me the importance of having freedom as child to play with the other kids in your neighborhood. In this blogpost, I go over in depth about an particular story of my childhood and how I found freedom as an kid growing up. All the nerf wars, the pool fights, the youtube videos, it all will shape me to be the person I will be as a grownup. I remember how my creativity and imagination flourished as kid, and how important it was for me to meet and play with all the kids around me. It truly is something special to have an group of seven to twelve friends running around until we grew weary.
I really believe more teachers should join in on #GSPD2017, as it instills an very important value and skill in students; learning to play with each other. It really is incredible how modern schooling puts so little emphasis on socializing and learning to enjoy one another. More teachers should join in on this event not only because it serves as a way to ease students’ stress, but also because it teaches students to be more friendly and cooperative. Having the entire school dedicate the entire day to just playing would foster so many connections and create a real sense of unity among students, for this I would be very appreciative.
Next year what should be done differently is that students should be allowed to play on the grass fields or on the basketball courts, that way there is more space to play games such as tag, basketball, soccer, and hide and seek. I also believe that being allowed to play with students from other classes that are also participating in #GSPD2017 is important, as we are exposed to students that we perhaps don’t usually see throughout the week. I really do believe that play is a important value and skill in America and that schools should be the first to defend this value, not be the ones to take it away. #GSPD2017 is an great opportunity to teach kids of all ages and grade levels to learn to have fun with each other and just PLAY!