When I googled “let the children play” I came up with the music program for the children in Venezuela, but I also came up with a great blog with a post on literally letting children play. http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/search/label/nature%20play
This blog post talked about using nature as children’s play ground and/or incorporating nature into your back yard. They used ideas such as sawed off log stumps to enclose a sand box or to be used as a stepping and walking wall. They planted climbing vines and trained them to form a tunnel or fort.
Children need play. They need to use their imaginations and creativity. Their play is the way they make sense of the world around them. It is how they imitate life and control things in their play environment that they can’t control in their real world environment.
Letting children use nature in their play helps them to feel comfortable in their world. Instead of manmade plastic action figures, they can use sticks and rocks to create their people. They can build their castles and forts with dirt or sand and feel the texture that is real and, well, earthy.
They can dig holes in the ground just for the pure enjoyment of digging.
Last year when Tac, one of my 3 year old grandsons was visiting, he started digging a hole in the ground. I thought, “Oh, that’s cute, he can’t do too much harm. After all, how long will a 3 year old boy stay in one place and dig?” Well I sure found out. Tac dug a hole about a foot wide and 6 inches deep in one afternoon and loved every minute of it. Was he dirty? Yes. Was he proud of his hole? YES! Did it do any harm? No, I covered it in after he went home.
During that same visit I took pictures of my grandchildren finding and posing with letters of the alphabet that they found in the back yard. It was so fun to hear them squeal and yell, “Hey, this looks like the letter A”, or whatever letter they found. Then I took the alphabet pictures and made it into an alphabet book and mailed it to them. I hope they remember the fun they had with grandma finding letters in the backyard.
So this summer, no need to run to Walmart to buy toys for your kids. Send them in the backyard and let them play, play, play