Sentiment is a crazy thing. I was walking around our place yesterday looking for something when I came across a stash of Vidur’s toys tucked away in a cupboard. Reminded me of all the happy hours we had spent as he grew up, thoroughly enjoying ourselves as much as, if not more, than he did.
While chatting with him last night, I reminisced about those days. After listening to me patiently for a little while, he said something that touched my heart. He said – why not give other children the power to play by giving away my toys?
For a second, I was stunned and I’ll tell you why.
Play is such an important part of childhood. In fact, as I often told my son when he was little, it is their business to explore and feel free to experiment. Play unleashes the imagination while building crucial skills such as problem solving and creativity, in the process.
I remember how Vidur used to turn a couple of utensils into drums and a mosquito net into a tent and play make-believe.
But it isn’t just about the improvisation – it is also about the roles children take on when they play. The experimentation with being someone else and moving from one role to another – what a pleasure it is to see their perceptions unfold!
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. Plato
Play also develops social skills when children play together, interacting with each other, negotiating, cooperating, sharing, and making friends.
Then there is physical development and healthy growth. In the early years it is all about hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Play is also a great stress-reliever and keeps children from being grumpy.
Emotional strength is yet another aspect. When children are unable to express themselves, they do so through art, storytelling and other activities. Above all, playing is fun!
Early play experiences set the stage for all subsequent development.
While children are happiest playing with what they have, and are masters at improvising and creating their own entertainment, toys can add to the pleasure in a big way. As I added the carefully packed tubs of playdoh, lego sets and jigsaw puzzles, I couldn’t help feeling happy about my son wanting to pass it on to children who would derive the same pleasure as he did.
Toys play an important role in a child’s life as it allows them to play longer. When it involves others in the family, it promotes cognitive development and higher levels of intellectual achievement. Children who are deprived of play are at risk for abnormal development and behavioural issues.
Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul. Friedrich Froebe
I am glad that Vidur’s toys will brighten the lives of children who have no access to toys. I am also proud to support ChildFund who understands the importance of play and has made it the core part of many of their programs worldwide, giving children the power to play.
When children have the power to play, they experience the power of play — which, really, is the child’s version of the power to change the world. And it can begin with a ball made from plastic bags and string, or a truck made from wire and bottle caps.
See this beautiful video of children exercising the Power to Play
You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing. George Bernard Shaw
Will you change a child’s life by giving her the Power to Play?