If you are a parent and utter the words “go play” over 20 times a day, can I get an Amen? Aaaaaamen.
“Mom, can I have a snack?” Not right now sugarplum, go play.
“Dad, I’m bored.” You have a million toys, go play.
Those words are ingrained in us. Easy to utter and hold hope for a moment of peace. We say them out of a need to get our littles untangled from beneath our feet so we can cook dinner, send an email, or go to the bathroom (ALONE). This idea of play is a part of our everyday lives. When kids are pestering us, we tell them to go play. We play alongside our kids as a means of quality time. We encourage them to play with others. Play is everywhere. But what does it really mean? And why is it so important to our kids and their development?
The American Academy of Pediatrics calls play “essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children” while also “offering an ideal opportunity for parents to fully engage with their children.” So, although we say it rather flippantly at times, expressing our desire for children to “go play” means so much more. Kids can play with anything, but when they engage their ever-changing and molding brains in a toy that allows them to check the boxes of creativity, following directions, independent play, and hones the academic skills they are learning at school without their knowledge, that is a #ParentingWin.