Why Play is the Work of Childhood

8461816152_845ed5831e_k-300x400When my daughter was about a year old, she would pretend to talk on the phone. She held up a banana or a plastic toy to her ear and carried on an animated conversation—mostly babbling, with some real words and phrases mixed in.

Now, at age 3, her pretend play has become more intricate and complex. It involves a rotating cast of imaginary friends who take part in exciting adventures like eating chocolate soup at a restaurant or going to outer space in a shopping cart.

I find her make-believe mostly funny and endearing. But Fred Rogers taught us that play is more than just fodder for the next phone call with Nana.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning,” he said. “But for children, play is serious learning.”

Imaginary play it turns out, helps children develop some necessary survival skills.

In this video, author and kindergarten teacher Vivian Gussin Paley discussed the critical role of imaginative play in a child’s development:

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  • april / 2 March 2016 8:32

    This was a good speech. It is very important to look the child in the eye and see that they are learning as they are talking to you. I loved that point. Thanks.