The curriculum in schools and kids’ lifestyles outside of school seem to be getting busier, fuller and faster!  As adults the time to ‘play’ has to be actively sought after or it wont happen!

For my birthday this year, a gorgeous friend of mine gave me a subscription to a very interesting quarterly magazine “Dumbo feather – conversations with extraordinary people”. Today was the day for it to arrive in my letter box and the first article ‘The lost art of play’ has bumbled around in my head for hours! In this blog I am going to direct quote the parts that challenged me – as an educationalist, a parent and an adult who I know should be playing more!! May they challenge you too!

..It (play) teaches us to be optimistic, flexible and social.  Yet when we grow up, it seems to almost disappear from our lives.

We forget to make a mess, to dress up, to make things from egg cartons and shoeboxes – to create when we know we might fail.

But we are hardwired to play, and we haven’t been coping without it.  Play is the foundation for intimacy, cooperation, creativity and resilience.  It is essential to our mental health.

We can’t play where there is judgement, so we will have to ignore our egos.  Let’s try to remember what gave us joy as fearless children.  Did you love to sing, to dance, to build? When is the last time you felt free, light, lost in a story?  Disappearing into the make-believe can nourish our brains and hearts and inspire a world of possibility.

(Page 12 Issue 36 Dumbo Feather)


In our schools are we giving opportunity for kids to play?  What happens to egg cartons and paint in the older classes?

In our homes are we happy to have the kids make a mess while they play with sand and water? How do we cope with play dough in the carpets?

As a teacher what play activity can you build in today?  As an adult what play activity can you build in for yourself?




9 thoughts on “Play

  1. Hi Rebekah,
    I hope I have spelt your name correctly. Your Mum recommended your blog, so I will recommend it to my adult children for my grandchildren. I think I get the tick of approval for the creative play mentioned in your article. Recently, grandchildren came to play. They decided to make a worm farm, so set to work digging up the worms from the enriched soil in the vege. Garden. They said to me when I went out of the house wondering why they were digging deep holes and creating a mess in the garden . ” what are you doing?” “We are looking for worms to make a worm farm” . I said ” Can I help?” So I helped two of the “kids” who were primary school age and smaller. Six of the “kids” were involved in the project, and they seemed to be all working together happily. I did some of the digging, and when they saw a worm, they were SO EXCITED, describing each worm as they picked it up.
    Then I remembered that I had a four tray empty worm farm in the shed, so retrieved that for them. Obviously some school teacher had taught at least one of them about worm farms as they seemed to know what they were doing.
    For me , it was exciting to see their enthusiasm, team work and a planned project now complete.
    Perhaps, I should go check those worms – as it is now six weeks later, and all the children have returned to their own homes.
    Barbara McKay .
    PS. I do have a photo. We live on 40 acres in the Lockyer Valley.


    • What a lovely thing to be able to do with the kids – that whole getting dirty and messy is so much fun! Thankyou so much for you support and I know Mum and Dad had such a wonderful day meeting up with you! I hope the worms were happy when you checked on them! R X


  2. This is great Rebekah. We seem to lose touch with those things which as children brought us such joy and wonder! I remember holding a snowflake in my hand for the first time around the age of nine and being so captivated. Recently I went for a walk along the beach at Chiton and my head was so full of things to do, plan and pray for and I realised 20 minutes into the walk that I was not taking note of God’s beautiful creation which in itself is like a prayer or a song! I felt the HS nudging me to slow down and savor the moment which I did. Minutes later a beautiful rainbow spanned the horizon – God’s beautiful reminder of His presence and promises. Keep up with the blog writing! xx


    • That memory of the snowflake is beautiful! What a gift to see all those things in creation and to be still! I had thought that this play topic is so close to what you are doing with work. See you soon hopefully. R xx


  3. Can’t resist another comment, as I am finding the Blog such a “kick-starter” into thoughts- then acting on them. Keep pressing on and into “helps” for us all, of every age group.


  4. SO on the same page!! Play is children’s “work”, the window through which they constreuct meaning of their world around them…. interestingly enough the research is saying that people of all ages need to continue to play! Love your blog! Must have a coffee or two sometime soon…. it has been far too long! XX Pip


  5. Pingback: Please can we go play? | a sunshiny day

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