The Purpose and Power of Play : Part I

This blog was published on 25 September 2019 on the SAISI website (The South African Institute For Sensory Integration)

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood” – Fred Rogers

From the “old days” to our current times a.k.a “van toeka tot nou”

Our children often ask us how things were in the “old days”. And much to their surprise, there were no cell phones, internet, wifi, Xbox and tablets when we were growing up. We grew up in a time where we could ride our bikes in the neighbourhood, or roller skate to our friends’ houses, and swim until it got dark. We made mud-cakes and had pretend tea parties, or built forts and had a pretend war against a fierce enemy. We camouflaged ourselves with charcoal stripes on our cheeks and leaves in our hair. We wore uniforms that we created from scrap pieces of material from our mothers’ sewing cupboards. It is true that times have changed and that we should not compare the way our children are brought up with the way things were in the “old days”. The needs of children have stayed the same, but they are somehow expected to walk, talk, read, behave and perform as soon as possible, even before they are neurologically or emotionally ready. In fact, everything has sped up in this modern day and age, even for us as parents.

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