Play is not just a pastime

Wild Things doing puzzles

monthly message from Executive Director Deb Green

In a world that often emphasizes structured learning environments for even our youngest children, the significance of play in a child’s development cannot be overstated. At PIC we are proud of our history of an unwavering commitment to play as it has been a vital part of our mission, values and advocacy work for 46 years.

At PIC, we have the wonderful advantage of being able to observe children engaged in play on a daily basis, and doing so unveils a treasure trove of insights into their development, creativity, and social interactions.  

  • Unleashing Creativity: When watching a group of children immersed in play, one sees creativity in its purest form. From building towering structures with blocks to inventing elaborate make-believe worlds, children effortlessly tap into their imagination. These observations serve as a reminder to nurture and preserve this imagination, as it often becomes dormant with age.
  • Learning Through Experience: Play is not just a pastime; it’s a primary mode of learning for young children. As they engage in playful activities, they are constantly experimenting, problem solving, and discovering the world around them. Whether it’s grasping the concept of cause and effect through pouring water into different containers, or honing fine motor skills by manipulating puzzle pieces, every play experience is a learning experience.
  • Cultivating Social Skills: Indoor classrooms and outdoor play spaces are bustling places where children learn the intricacies of social interactions. Through play, they navigate complex dynamics such as cooperation, negotiation and conflict resolution. Observing these interactions offers valuable insights into the building blocks of human relationships, and the importance of empathy, communication, and compromise in fostering meaningful connections with friends.
  • Embracing Joy and Spontaneity: In the midst of structured routines and responsibilities, witnessing children play serves as a reminder to embrace joy and spontaneity in all of our lives. Their laughter, their uninhibited movements, and genuine expressions of delight are contagious!
  • Fostering Resilience and Adaptability: Play is not without challenges and setbacks. Whether it’s facing the disappointment of a toppled tower or navigating disagreements with peers, children constantly encounter obstacles in their play. It’s through these challenges that they develop resilience, adaptability, and a growth mindset.

Play is not just a pastime, it’s a fundamental aspect of childhood that lays the foundation for a child’s overall development. As we champion the power of play, we empower children to learn, grow, and flourish in all aspects of their lives.

I invite you to join us for our annual Day of Play on Saturday, May 4, from 10 am - 1 pm. This is our community celebration of play (open to our PIC families, as well as neighbors, relatives and friends) that takes place on our nature playground and blacktop and is filled with open-ended play opportunities, as well as crafts, music, food and lots of fun!