We’ve learned that kids love to play.
Thousands of kids have visited Pebble Park in this first year. They will run, jump and climb for hours. They come out beat red and sweaty, and still they want more. It makes sense. They have such limited opportunities to move in school, and so many of their extracurricular activities are structured.
We’ve learned that kids love a little chaos. The want to run like maniacs while screaming at the top of their lungs. They bounce off of walls, and each other, and just go, go, go. They need time to just let their bodies and minds take them down the most random paths of expression imaginable.
It’s been interesting to watch the increase in focus for the kids that get to play in the park before they transition to a structured class like dance or martial arts. Their focus is better, learning seems like less of a chore, and they have more patience with both themselves and others.
It can be really funny to watch. I’ve seen a kid spin in a circle clucking like a chicken until I’m positive they’re going to puke. Ten minutes later that same kid is dialed in for a ballet class, or chess, or a creative art project. It’s like two different children occupying one body.
Kids don’t just need to move, they need to move freely. They need to completely abandon any sense of structure once in a while. For those of you who have kids, it’s worth remembering. The emotional outburst, the lack of focus, the crankiness…whatever it is you’re seeing from them may be a result of the fact that they just need a release.
It isn’t always possible to provide kids with the opportunity to just play. What we’ve learned is that if the opportunity arises, we should take it. Kids love to play. We should give them the time and space to do so whenever possible.
They’ll be better for it 🙂