Join them, play a couple rounds of “Go Fish!”

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Einstein

With today’s emphasis on state standards, and global educational rankings, it is no wonder ‘playing’ can be considered goofing off. Teaching to the test and drill tactics have taken over the American educational system and it seems that these practices are not going away any time soon. Over time, these changes have resulted in kindergarten without play houses and curriculum that can be developmentally inappropriate.


How do we fix this mismatch? First, let children play! Playing is a child’s way of exploring and discovering the world around them. We may think that they are just tossing their dolls in the air and catching it again, but they are really discovering gravity and the principal that no matter what they toss into the air, it will come back down again. We may think that they are just dressing up like a fireman and chasing the cat with a hose, but they are really using their imagination and creativity in their own fun way.


Second, don’t assume that because your child is completing large quantities of worksheets that they are learning. There is a distinct difference between quantity of work and quality of work. A child can learn the same concepts through a hand-on approach. The difference is that they are more likely to remember and later use what they learned.


Finally, we must take time to play with our children. Parents can show their children that learning and exploring the world around can be fun. Encourage them to use their imaginations, to develop problem solving skills, to engage in appropriate social interactions with others, to take turns, and to win and lose gracefully. Who knew that a simple game of “Go Fish!”, Chutes & Ladders, or Dress-up could do so much?!

How do you make learning fun? What family activities do you enjoy?


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