If You Could Play Today, What Would You Do?

Kids in swimming pool
Instructor having too much fun with his swim lesson students

If you could play today, what would you do? Would you go for a walk, go to the gym, or go play a game of golf? Would you take a drive and enjoy the view? Or would you just sit on a park bench and watch people go by? Any of those activities are considered play.

What does “PLAY” look like to you? We know that children play spontaneously and (almost) constantly. Playing is how children learn socialization skills. In an earlier post, I introduced this concept.

Last night, here in San Diego, I had the chance to watch my nieces take their swim lesson (ones I gave them for their Christmas present). Before and after the class, the kids would play in the water, cavorting, splashing, doing somersaults and handstands. Were they working on their water skills in preparing for the lesson? Nope.

They. Just. Played.

In swimming lessons, the instructors usually have to play games and sing songs with the children to “trick” them into learning new skills, like putting their faces in the water and blowing bubbles. For a non-swimmer, this is a hard skill to teach, especially if the student is afraid of the water. Games like “ring around the rosy” or “Simon Says” trick the kids into doing things they ordinarily wouldn’t try as they get involved in the game.

The key to teaching the skills with these techniques is positive reinforcement. When a child is nervous and won’t put their face in the water, playing a game may force them to get their face wet when they don’t realize it has happened. That positive reinforcement from the instructor saying, “Great job, Johnnie! Look, you got your face wet all by yourself!” is critical for the child’s growth and development of even such a simple skill.

Do you have a new skill to learn? Can playing or taking a few minutes for leisure help you learn something new? Take a few minutes and find out! Focus on something positive today.

I am travelling in San Diego all this week, so I am combining my posts. This is my “Leisurely Thursday” post for Ronovan Write’s BeWOW Wednesday.

Please share this post if you liked it! And then go out and play!

25 thoughts on “If You Could Play Today, What Would You Do?

  1. I love the reminder that children’s play is also how they learn. The best part of leisure is learning new things- whether it is skill such as photography or learning about new cultures, new food, or new places.

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  2. Wendy

    Oh, if I could play today….paddle boarding, relaxing on the beach, exploring with my camera, reading in a hammock (is that “play”??), planting flowers….I could go on and on! Instead I’ll be grading high school projects that I “HOPE” were a little like play for my students whom I was trying to teach an important concept — we will see! 🙂 And I remember when my daughter was in elementary school and the multiplication facts just weren’t sticking, I put pennies and nickels and dimes in a line from one end of the room to another. For everyone she got right, she could advance and keep the coin; for everyone she missed, she had step back and replace the coin. Suddenly multiplication was no longer the hardest thing she had ever done! 🙂

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    1. What a great way to teach math! I was hopeless! And yes, your list is all about leisure! Did you know the Ancient Greek word “schole” , meaning “school” is translated into our modern word for leisure? School and leisure are inexorably linked 🙂


  3. So true. I’ve got a three-year-old daughter, and teaching her new skills goes so much better when it’s done on the sly through games and play, and supported by positive comments. I just wish I could remember that little trick all the time—it would save us both a lot of frustration.

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  4. Nice post! Learning something that I’m interested in always feels like play. If I find that I enjoy it, it becomes even better play. Learning Italian, photography, kayaking, yoga… all play to me 🙂 Learning and play are an excellent combination! I think if you can add that element of enjoyment to learning, it makes it a lot easier to absorb the subject.

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  5. Boy, you sure picked a great week to come to San Diego – weather-wise!

    I really like that quote by Erik Erikson! Funny how, to this day, I remember the pride I felt that I was the only kid in my backyard swimming class so many years ago who just dove right in and got my face wet.

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    1. thanks, Janis! It has been beautiful here and this is our last day! I really wanted to visit with you and time just flew by! I was pretty comfortable in the water too at a young age, but still was afraid of the deep end 🙂 Next visit down here I hope to have more time!


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