How many times have you planned a nice outing for your family, only to have your kids beg and scream to stay home and play with the garden hose? Who can honestly say their young kids are more excited about what’s in the box than the box itself? As baffling as it may be to us grown-ups, kids don’t need many bells and whistles to have a ball, literally or figuratively. Why? Kids learn best through play and have everything they need to enjoy themselves within the limitless possibilities of their imaginations.
According ‘The Spoke’ play can be described as:
- pleasurable– Play sometimes includes frustrations, challenges and fears; however enjoyment is a key feature.
- symbolic– play is often pretend, it has a ‘what if?’ quality. The play has meaning to the player that is often not evident to the adult.
- active– either physical, verbal or mental engagement with materials, people, ideas or the environment
- voluntary– play is freely chosen. However, players can also be invited or prompted to play
- process oriented– play is a means unto itself and players may not have an end or goal in sight
- self motivating– play is considered its own reward to the player
At MAX our Arts and STEAM programming is built on this knowledge. In music class play is a central tenant of engagement. We provide a rich environment in which little ones can learn and experiment and express with the grown up’s they love. In theatre, games and experimentation yield the most wonderful characters and ideas. In STEAM 101 play-based learning makes scientific concepts tangible and meaningful to kids. Stay attuned to our social channels to see the kinds of fun we serve up each and every week, and ask any parent in our programs how play contributes to their child’s growth. Chances are they can rave about the effect enjoyment and lack of performance pressure have on their child’s development. Sometimes we just need to take a step back, and let kids take the rein pursuing their interests. You provide the safe environment, supplies and support, they can take it from there.