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Let’s Play!

What happened to good old-fashioned fun? Somewhere along the way, we’ve been taught that kids are wasting their time when they are “just” playing. And yet, study after study proves that play is the work of childhood. Even Einstein understood the value of play! He said “…Play seems to be the essential feature in productive scientific thought—before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of signs that can be communicated to others.” In other words, before you can be a genius scientist, you first have to know how to kick back and play.

It’s time we reclaim play as the fundamental base of knowledge and understanding for our kids. Let’s stop over-scheduling every minute of our kids’ days so that they never have a moment of boredom. When you think about it, a lot of creativity can be sparked by a dull lull in the afternoon when the world seems to slow down and our brains actually have a minute to wander.

What a relief to know that it’s not up to us as parents to sculpt our children’s intelligence! Our job really is to simply enjoy them, talk with them and take them to interesting places that spark their curiosity—everyday places like the supermarket and doctor’s offices and especially children’s museums. Ask them open-ended questions such as, “What do you think that does?” or “How do you think that works?” or “What do you think that job would be like?”

Turns out it’s the kids who are the engines behind their very own development. We need to introduce them to experiences that are interesting and fun…to them. Even a crack on a sidewalk can provide a world of wonder to a toddler who notices the tiniest details of a bug moving a piece of dirt from one side to another.

It’s time to slow down. Just taking the time to enjoy our kids—to play with them and discuss what’s going on in their world—is the best thing parents can do for their children’s growing minds and emotional development. This is what guarantees future success. No bells. No whistles. No expensive electronic toys. Just get down to their level and play. And see what happens.

Childhood is about making discoveries. It is a time when children learn about themselves and their own capabilities. These discoveries do not take place in the context of structured lessons—nor do they come in boxes or on computer screens.

Scientists worldwide share in our vision as we urge you to celebrate your children more and worry less about creating future Einsteins. In the end, you’ll witness genuine learning in its purest form. And you’ll probably have a whole lot of fun with your kids.