Or, as Albert Einstein put it, “Play is the highest form of research”.
I read something recently that was so sweet it was heartbreaking to me. It was about how you don’t really know the last time you’ll hold your child. One day you’ll be carrying him along and not thinking about it and the next he’ll just be running around and not needing you in that way anymore.
That got me thinking, we don’t really know the last time we’ll do lots of things, and often don’t remember those “lasts”.
I don’t know if it’s the last time I played a pretend game as a child, but I have the clearest memory of playing an imaginary game outside with my friends in fourth grade. It’s the last time like this that I have a memory of.
We were on a school trip to Crow Canyon Archeological Center in Colorado. We were learning all about Native American tribes who had lived there and about how archeologists discover artifacts. We also had free time to just explore and play.
I don’t remember there being any playground, but there were plenty of wide open spaces, big rocks, and a little creek. I remember it being a sunny day with a blue sky, and a bit of a chill in the air. The stream was cold. I was crouched down by the water and we were playing some pretend game about being Native Americans in the society we were learning about. I remember being so, so happy.
Thinking about this reminds me of how “play” really is the work of children, of how we need to give them time and space free from toys and media to just explore and exercise their imaginations. We were playing and having the best time, but we were also processing what we had been learning about, making it real in our minds.
Do you remember pretend games you played as a child?