Space, time and permission are three interrelated factors that have a significant impact on children’s opportunities to play . But without permission, all the space and time in the world is worthless.Read more ›
This edition of the Importance of Play blog series features an excerpt from ’Policy for Play’ by Adrian Voce, expert on children’s play.
While the precise nature of play remains elusive and indefinable, several academic disciplines – from evolutionary biology to developmental and depth psychology and the emergent neurosciences – each agree in their different ways that children’s play is central to who and what we are. It seems clear from these various studies that playing has a vitally important role, both in individual development and in human evolution, but that its primary purpose is simply to be enjoyed. The great play scholar Brian Sutton-Smith famously said, ‘the opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression’; the act of playing brings about ‘renewed belief in the worthwhileness of merely living’.Read more ›
The long, hot Aussie summers of my childhood are a precious part of my play memory.
It was a time where my days were spent playing, largely free from adult constraints and expectations. I didn’t ‘roam free’ in the purest sense, and wouldn’t glorify that as the ideal. My backyard, and those of my surrounding neighbours, were wild enough for me and climbing fences and trees and ‘raiding’ the dens of my friends was risky enough to satisfy my taste for adventure.
Play is at its purest and most uninhibited when it is unstructured and spontaneous. Play, away from the watchful eyes of parents and other adults, allows children to escape into their own world, free from judgement, advice or instruction from grown-ups.Read more ›
My four-year-old grandson loves to draw the wind with pink and green crayons. When I first noticed this I asked him to tell me what those squiggly little lines on his paper were. He stopped drawing and looked closely into my eyes as if attempting to discover what was wrong with me. He couldn’t understand how I could not see. Luckily, I completely understood when he held a bath towel to his shoulders and ran to let the wind lift his cape so he could fly. It wasn’t all that long ago that I, too, could fly.Read more ›