Playing Together is Connection
Diane Levin, Ph.D., a professor at Wheelock College is concerned. She talks to teachers all the time who see the trend. One told her:
It’s harder and harder to have free play in my classroom. Some children can’t cope with lack of structure. They …rarely get involved in any activity for long.”
They don’t know how to play.
Howard Chudacoff, a cultural historian at Brown University who recently published a history of play, says that play has changed when in the 1950’s, Disney introduced its first toy—the Thunder Burp— through the Mickey Mouse Club. From that point on play began to be formed by what could be sold. Since then, playing is about toys and how much money giant corporations can make by creating new ones.
Connecting to your child through free-play—without the structure of store-bought toys—proves to be a critical connection point and one that helps a child learn decision making, focus, self-control, and creativity. Be careful not to buy your way out of the connecting time you can enjoy by creative play.
Action Point: Write a list of the toys/games your child most enjoys. Now, evaluate them to make sure there are several options on there that require creativity and decision making. If not, you might try some good old fashioned “toys” like dominoes, Erector sets, dolls, balls, or just a empty refrigerator box!
Dannah Gresh is the best-selling author of Six Ways To Keep The Little In Your Girl and Six Ways To Keep The Good In Your Boy (Harvest House). Both books provide practical advice on how to become a connecting mom in an effort guide your children from their tweens to their teens with a value system that reflects God.