Why your day needs play

by Kathy Kuhl

If you started homeschooling in September, by now you are settled into some routines. You’ve probably taken your kids to a co-op. You’ve been to a support group meeting. Your books may not be looking so shiny and new, but are becoming more familiar. Your kids know piano is Thursdays, and soccer is Tuesdays and Saturdays. You’re finding a rhythm. That’s good.

But does your routine make room for play?

Do you see clutter or possiblities?
Do you see clutter or possiblities?

I don’t just mean those twenty minutes (which I dearly cherished) when my son would go play with Legos ® while I read after lunch. I mean, do you engage playfully with your kids?

Have you assigned silly journal projects? (“Describe your day from the point of view of your shoe.”) Do you laugh at silly jokes together? Shakespeare didn’t think puns were beneath him. If your child is tired of reading aloud, let them do it in silly voices.

It doesn’t have to be during lesson time. My son and I discovered Buster Keaton films together, and loved the slapstick of that great actor. Word play anytime can build a love of language.

One morning, my friend Tonya’s son, Joshua, showed up at her kitchen table in costume, complete with a long brown beard. He announced himself with a made-up name. She played along, and insisted he write down his life story, which he cheerfully did. His little sister saw this, assembled her own costume, announced her character. And soon both kids were sitting at the table writing. Tonya saw a moment to jettison the lesson plan and let play lead the way into creativity. “Sometimes our studies are so right brain driven, the kids never get a chance to be creative,” she said.

What do you do to bring play into your day? Post your answer in the comments section below, please.

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