It may seem a bit incongruous to celebrate play on the morning of 9/11. Yet I flew into NYC this morning, elated after a trip to San Francisco and the World Congress of Play. The World Congress of Play is a forum that brings together the key “players” in the toy business to discuss how children can be better served by the games they play. Besides exploring the many ways to improve Play in all forms, we discussed the crisis in play for the modern child and how we simply must advocate not just for higher quality toys, but a greater quantity of play time.
More play time is crucial not just to cognitive development but to social and emotional development as well. And physical play is essential for growing bodies to be healthy, strong and confident.
Many of us at WCOP, including play designers and play researchers, feared we had not allowed our kids to play enough, or freely enough. Even I wondered if I had allowed my girl enough free play or had played with her as much as I could have in light of what I learned.
Isla was 5 weeks old when the towers fell and the world changed. She also changed my life deeply and inspired me to design play for kids. I began my journey watching her grow through play and I loved this journey so thoroughly.
I am more inspired and committed than ever to play and its central, integral, vital role in making healthy, balanced, and creative people. In honor of this day of mourning I urge you to value joy and fun and I thank my co-pilot Isla and my new friends at WCOP for refocusing me onto this encouragement.
Today let’s play together to protest violence and hate by experiencing joy and social connection. Play is what makes us smarter and better as people; it’s in our animal nature. Embrace your nature.