Thursday, July 21, 2011

Assignment: My Connections to Play

"Creative play is like a spring that bubbles up from deep within a child."" - Joan Almon
“Play is the highest form of research.” - Albert Einstein

When I was about four or five, my favorite toys were my dolls and kitchen set. I had a ton of accessories for the dolls. I enjoyed pretending to care for the babies. I named them all and there were a couple that I took everywhere with me. Before I could remember, my grandmother got me my first doll. My mom and grandmother told me that I couldn’t stand the feeling of her hair so they had to cut it off. After that, I’d actually play with the doll, but when I was about five, I got a new doll that I called Kelly who was my favorite for the next couple of years. The last thing I remember about playing with those two dolls is dressing them up in my old baby clothes. I also had a few sets of blocks that I played with often. I’d build houses, roads, castles and cages for my plastic animals. I’ve always enjoyed creating things and I’d usually start projects by myself. I’d use cardboard boxes, paint, paper scraps; anything really that I could make something out of.

Me with toys.


For outdoor play, my favorite thing at home and preschool was the sand box. At preschool, there sand was full of clay. I remember finding as many pieces of clay as I could and putting them in a bucket. My grandfather built my sand box at home. There, I’d spend hours building sand castles, filling buckets of sand and making roads. Many of my memories of play took place outside. In elementary school, my favorite place to play was the beach with my best friend. We’d either go to a beach by her house or another beach in town. We swam, got knocked over by ocean waves and walked along the beach looking for shells and sea glass. I had quite a sea glass and shell collection back then. In the winter, I remember playing in the snow. I’d help my mom shovel, build snowmen, make snow angels, jump into snow banks and slide down big hills. I think I’d be a different person today without all those play experiences. I think children need a variety of play experiences to make them well-rounded.

Photo found from here.

Unfortunately, these days, children don’t get the same opportunities to play. Much of their time is taken up by technology, structured activities or sports and many children don’t even live near their friends. That makes it hard for them to play outside of school. Parents have more safety concerns than ever before. Whether they are valid or not, they are a big reason for keeping kids inside. At school, there is no time left for play because of the push for learning math and literacy at an earlier age. Children are less connected with nature now. I learned a lot from playing in nature when I was a kid because nature is hands on and can be experienced with all the senses. Today’s children don’t get enough time outside and most of the ones who do stay in playgrounds. I hope that children can start to connect with nature, explore natural settings like beaches or the woods and that they have a variety of play experiences instead of only with video games or the small amount of time they might get at school. My hope for the future is that play can be returned to children’s homes and classrooms.


  1. Nice post with great reflection! I also played outside the majority of the time, although in Montana we did not have the luxury of the beach! ::GRIN:: Your nurturing gift obviously started very young, do you feel that your play with the dolls and nurturing activities help guide you to the professional path that you are in today?

  2. I absolutely LOVE this! Your personalized reflection on your childhood almost had me in tears thinking about how much I miss my own. I had a wonderful childhood filled with outdoor memories with family and friends and very little technology. I can remember many of the same things that you said, and I only hope to do my best to inspire my own children to grow up like we did, without iphones and ipads but with nature and friends! I see how you talked about taking care of your dolls, I did too! I can remember wanting to be a caregiver my entire life. Always knowing that a teacher career wasn't too far ahead of me. :) Thank you so much for the trip down memory lane! The pictures are great!!

  3. One instance of safety for my daughter's boys was not human. They live in an area near Seattle that is rather open. One night they heard a noise that made them wonder, there was a knock on the door and the neighbor man was telling them that he had looked out his back window into the park behind their house and saw a cougar. All the children stayed in their houses for several days until the cougar was shot. The animal control could not catch it so gave the men permission to shot it if it came into a yard. I know that this is not normal but when it was all over the neighbors had something to talk about.


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