World Play Day Message 2020
‘PLAY’ THE KEY TO HEALTH
Please acknowledge and celebrate the value of PLAY in the lives of all of us!
Never has it been more important than now – the year 2020 – to take a look at the part PLAY has, can and should take in our wellbeing!
I pose the questions. Did you ever play with “Dirt” making “MUD PIES” 0R do you remember being told to GO OUT TO PLAY? Would you now tell a child who is a bit lethargic to go out and get a breath of fresh air or go for a good blow on a windy day? In this 21st century these healthy habits are deterred by advances (changes) in technology, chemistry, speed and so on that have curtailed the time, energy, ability and opportunity for play.
So what is this thing called PLAY? Perhaps this can be understood by watching how children play (or maybe better still – animals!) There are many things about play that are not, cannot and should not be taught! For an activity to qualify as play there has to be a freedom, a desire, a happiness and abandonment. Children will display concentration, urgency, control, intensity and in some cases involvement. Animals will enjoy all these with an essence of approach and withdrawal, connection and disconnection, joyfulness and sadness, anger and renewal. The play is often accompanied by sounds such as screams or barking. For this play to happen adults need to promote, watch, observe, allow, encourage, tolerate, see the fun (if these skills don’t come easily we need to learn them!)
What about adults? These days “stress” is common so how do we cope? This is where it is imperative to realise that play is different for each person. For me horse riding was an excellent way to cope with stress! Once you are on the horse you are in a relationship! You have to concentrate! YOU must be in control and the horse is stronger than you! Many elements of play mentioned earlier in this message come into force – concentration, intensity, abandonment (of the rest of your world) coupled with a strange sense of freedom as you “fly” through the woods or the fields in partnership with your steed!
Finally to return to having small children in the home - their business is play! To a child anything that can be touched is good for play! Therefore one must remove all dangerous objects in reach so that they can experiment and experience as they please. TOYS? Anything can be a toy! Many of which can be found in your rubbish bin!! Make sure things are clean!! Boxes, tubes, scarves, balls, “threaders” with blunt ends (even a piece of string dipped into some old fashioned glue) and large beads; anything that can be stacked, plastic containers, wooden spoons and a tin with a firm lid that cannot be easily removed – anything good for banging. Before the 2nd world war I remember playing with my father using fire-lighting wood and a frying pan to drum around the house (that dates me!!). My twin granddaughters are now in university but not before they had worked their way through my button box and then my jewelry. We now have a 4 year old grandson with 3 month old twin siblings (a boy and a girl) so I still have piles of “Instant Toys” in my living room and well meaning guests still offer to throw away my “rubbish”, while lingering toy librarians have fun taking pictures of it!
YES, PLAY is the KEY to our HEALTH.
Make time for play in your life, in your children’s lives and in your grand children’s lives. Make the space in your day, the time in your schedule, the safe place for your children and always remember that PLAY is a necessity. You don’t have to be rich, anywhere will do, SPREAD the word. You need to be healthy, SO PLAY.
Freda Kim, MBE, Ph.D
Founder of WPD for ITLA and the WORLD
World Play Day Message
Allow a child to play today. Watch a child play today. Play with a child today. We want our children to grow into well adjusted, well educated, useful and happy people; but how can we ensure that this happens. Think how much time you spend giving one hundred percent attention to a child everyday. How does each child make his first human relationships? How much hard exercise does he get every day? And then ask yourself how much time each child spends watching television, watching videos and playing with the computer, or even multi casting. Then ask another question how much time does each child spend in close contact with an adult who cuddles him, shows intense interest in what he is doing and talks with him? You will find without a doubt that every child spends more time with machines than with human beings. Yet it is human beings who can help him to make relationships, converse and be a happy person. We are living in an age of information overload. Information is no good to us if we do not know how to use and share it. If a child is unable to relate to and converse with other human beings, he will not be a useful, happy person. In other words, on-line experiences are no substitute for off-line experiences. If he has learned to communicate his ideas through the spoken word and to acknowledge his feelings in human relationships, he will have laid the ground work for quick learning through any media that is available to him.
One of the most important things about play is that it gets us in touch with other human beings. In order to give our children the opportunity for healthy development mentally, physically, emotionally and educationally, to give them the basis of a healthy, wholesome and happy life we must allow them to develop through the way that is most natural to them; and that is through PLAY. More importantly, play with other people and particularly within the family. The reason for promoting a WORLD PLAY DAY
is to emphasize the importance of play in all our lives and particularly in the lives of our children. Children learn to talk though play, they learn to make friends through play, they get exercise through play; they also acquire the basic skills for formal education such as concentration, imagination, self-expression and the retention of useful facts. Let a child play today and ensure his happy, useful and healthy future.
Freda Kim, M.B.E., Ph.D
World Play Day Founder