professornana (professornana) wrote,

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The play's the thing...

Fellow lovers of English will recognize the quote as one from Shakespeare's HAMLET as Hamlet plots his revenge on Claudius. But play has so many different meanings. Of late, there has been much written about the importance of PLAY in the lives of children. It comes at a time when we are testing for preschool readiness, when we are expecting kids to come to school already knowing letters and numbers and more in some cases. It comes at a time when recess has become a thing of the past in some schools because more time needs to be spent on test prep.

This morning, as BH and I sipped our morning coffee on the balcony looking out at the Newport coastline, we caught sight of a group of dolphins (maybe porpoises? we were too far away to tell) frolicking in the surf. The movement appeared to be PLAY. I know that is anthropomorphism on my part, but it looked like fun and I liked to imagine there was PLAY going on there.

I think back to a course I once took on Time Management (for Unmanageable People) which recommended taking breaks for JOY. We were told to keep a JOY JOURNAL and in it to note things we could do for JOY that took minutes, hours, all day. The idea was to take time for JOY even if it meant scheduling it in. I feel the same way about PLAY and do my best to find time for PLAY each day.

There are other instances where PLAY is important. I love word play. Today, Libba Bray posted an incredibly sharp, witty, hysterical piece about International Women's Day ( The playfulness in her writing is unmistakable. And it is contagious. We all need PLAY and JOY and LAUGHTER.

This is reflected in one of the findings of the Scholastic survey about the kind of books kids prefer. Number 1 was books that make me laugh. It is good to laugh. I need it especially on these "super Tuesdays" when the pundits make my head spin. I need PLAY, word play, language play. It helps me as a reader and as a writer. But the PLAY, the JOY, the LAUGHTER: those help me as a human.
Tags: play
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