While at the library today, I picked up a book called “made to play!”, which was chockfull of ideas for handmade toys and crafts. Growing up, I loved designing, creating, and making. I loved pom poms and pipe cleaners, glitter glue and art kits. Our family didn’t spend a whole lot on toys, but boy did we hoard craft supplies. We saved our toilet paper rolls, paper scraps, and cardboard boxes for those moments when our imaginations were sparked. I had labelled shoeboxes organized with beads, string, feathers, buttons, you name it. With these seemingly junky items, I created dollhouses, bracelets, ornaments and more.
I never really thought twice about it, but this sort of play really helped to develop my creativity. It helped me to see multiple uses and to consider what something might be or become. As we get older, we often move away from this sort of play, because we “just don’t have the time”. I know that I’m guilty of it. But I wonder – are we doing ourselves a disservice by limiting this type of play in our lives, even as adults?
Having been inspired by this book, my 2-year-old and I spent some time this afternoon creating little bumblebee finger puppets out of paper. They were simple and took very little time and resources, but the very act of creation was immensely rewarding. Watching my toddler buzz around the room with the bumblebees on his fingers brought so much joy, and I immediately got the urge to create more animals (thinking we’ll make a giraffe and elephants tomorrow).
This got me thinking – should we be building time into our school day for play? We often focus so much on developing our students academically, but what about developing their thinking, creativity, and overall love of life? What might this look like? Are there other things that we are missing from our school days?