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Take Time to Play

Many families today feel bombarded with timelines to adhere to and routines to follow and children are often the victims of these busy schedules. As our lives become more structured children are afforded fewer opportunities to engage in experiences that are free from adult instruction. Over the past few decades, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of children experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression, and a sense of hopelessness. The evidence tells us it is time to reprioritize and bring play back to the top of our “To Do” lists.


This is where we can look to our youngest citizens for guidance. Children spend most of their early years in a state of play. They observe and connect with the world around them in a way that is motivated by instinct and inquiry. Children attend to the intricate details within each moment. They constantly create opportunities to engage joyfully with the world and people around them. As adults, we need to take notice of this way of living. We can join children in focusing on small, intriguing details all around us. We should spend time thinking in the realm of possibility. We must let go of our desire to focus on outcomes and results and learn to re-engage with the space and materials we encounter daily. We have to slow down and simply enjoy the process of interacting with our world.


The next time you are sitting in traffic feeling eager to get somewhere, pause for a moment. Bring your attention to something other than your destination. Take a moment to look out your window and observe what is going on around you. Move your gaze across the surrounding landscape. Develop questions about what you are noticing. Who might have built the roads you are driving on? What exists below the road? What was in this place long before the road was built? Let your mind wander until you no longer care about the answers but find joy in asking the questions. In this state of curiosity you are able to bring your focus into the present moment, follow your instincts and notice how good it feels to be playful.


As we begin to invite play back into our lives and experience its benefits it will become easier for us to advocate for more play for our children.

The Community Early Years Partnership disseminates information about and promotes optimal infant and early childhood development to healthcare providers, community partners, parents and caregivers.


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