If you could play today, what would you do? Would you go for a walk, go to the gym, or go play a game of golf? Would you take a drive and enjoy the view? Or would you just sit on a park bench and watch people go by? Any of those activities are considered play.
What does “PLAY” look like to you? We know that children play spontaneously and (almost) constantly. Playing is how children learn socialization skills. In an earlier post, I introduced this concept.
Last night, here in San Diego, I had the chance to watch my nieces take their swim lesson (ones I gave them for their Christmas present). Before and after the class, the kids would play in the water, cavorting, splashing, doing somersaults and handstands. Were they working on their water skills in preparing for the lesson? Nope.
They. Just. Played.
In swimming lessons, the instructors usually have to play games and sing songs with the children to “trick” them into learning new skills, like putting their faces in the water and blowing bubbles. For a non-swimmer, this is a hard skill to teach, especially if the student is afraid of the water. Games like “ring around the rosy” or “Simon Says” trick the kids into doing things they ordinarily wouldn’t try as they get involved in the game.
The key to teaching the skills with these techniques is positive reinforcement. When a child is nervous and won’t put their face in the water, playing a game may force them to get their face wet when they don’t realize it has happened. That positive reinforcement from the instructor saying, “Great job, Johnnie! Look, you got your face wet all by yourself!” is critical for the child’s growth and development of even such a simple skill.
Do you have a new skill to learn? Can playing or taking a few minutes for leisure help you learn something new? Take a few minutes and find out! Focus on something positive today.
Please share this post if you liked it! And then go out and play!