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Count the Giggles

Why Play Matters


By Gill Connell

As parents search for ways to give their children the best start in life, it seems today’s kids are engaged in more structured activities than generations past. Preschool programs, enrichment classes, peewee sports and the like expose kids to new ideas while the structure gently instills important social skills like making friends, teamwork, and following directions.


But here’s the funny thing. No matter how great the program, play does all of those things better.

Play comes from within. It doesn’t need anyone else telling them what to do or how to do it. At play, a child is in control of what’s real and what’s important.


Play is immediate. It meets a child’s needs right here and right now, speeding up and slowing down on command. Play has no pickup time. 


Play respects a child’s choices because it knows their needs from the inside out. The rest of us are pretty much guessing. 


Play gives the imagination somewhere to go. Imagination is nature’s way of helping a child experiment and interpret life. It shapes their world vision and defines their point of view. 


Play is flow. At play, a child is free to set, change, and achieve their own goals without judgment. Self-satisfaction is their report card. 


However, there is one problem. The immeasurable benefits of play are not measurable. You can’t take play's temperature, issue progress reports or compare it to the kid next door. So if you still need data points… 

Count the giggles.

Count the quiet moments when they are so engrossed, they forget to go to the bathroom. 


Count how many stories they tell about aliens, pirates, princesses, elves, fairies, robots, puppies and kitties, and a big hairy monster named Lou.


Count on them. When they’re playing they’re learning. Trust the process.

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Count the Giggles.

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