Today, We Played
We played together today.
My 6th graders and I are away on a two-day “Breakaway” trip to Victory Ranch about an hour and a half outside Memphis. It’s been a day full of character and team building activities. I’ve been able to spend some time getting to know the guys in my mentor group better, and we’ve had a great time facing some challenges and enjoying some friendly competition. We’ve also talked a lot about leadership and what it means to be a godly man, but perhaps my favorite part of the day Has been playing with my homeroom.
We spent a couple of hours this afternoon riding the zip line and playing on the water slide. I put on a harness and joined them. We ran. We swam. We ate sno cones. We wrestled in the pond as the boys tried, rather unsuccessfully, to dunk me. We received a reprimand from the lifeguard. We tried to catch a football while going down a four-story water slide. We did flips and barrel rolls. We took turns. We told stories. We laughed. We connected and bonded as a homeroom class.
Playing is learning. It’s important. We spend a significant amount of time thinking, learning, and problem-solving in school and it’s good, but so are the times when we play. Play allows for self-expression. It develops our creativity, imagination, and empathy. Play reduces anxiety and increases self-confidence. When we play, we learn to cooperate, share, and resolve conflict. We improve our concentration and learn to persist. We develop our ability to communicate. (Singer, Golinkoff, Hirsh-Pasek 2011)
We weren’t in class today. The desks sat empty. But don’t say we didn’t learn. Today, we played.