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Challenging Assumptions in Education by Wendy Priesnitz

Quotes About Play

“For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational.’ The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.” ~ Penelope Leach

“Play deprivation is bad for children. Among other things, it promotes anxiety, depression, suicide, narcissism, and loss of creativity. It’s time to end the experiment.” ~ Peter Gray

“Playing should be fun! In our great eagerness to teach our children we studiously look for ‘educational’ toys, games with built-in lessons, books with a ‘message.’ Often these ‘tools’ are less interesting and stimulating than the child’s natural curiosity and playfulness. Play is by its very nature educational. And it should be pleasurable. When the fun goes out of play, most often so does the learning.” ~ Joanne E. Oppenheim

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce  

“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” ~ Kay Redfield Jamison

“Play is…more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults – and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.” ~ Stuart Brown

“The child amidst his baubles is learning the action of light, motion, gravity, muscular force….” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression.” ~ Brian Sutton-Smith

“The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.” ~ Plato

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning…They have to play with what they know to be true in order to find out more, and then they can use what they learn in new forms of play.” ~ Fred Rogers

“It is becoming increasingly clear through research on the brain, as well as in other areas of study, that childhood needs play. Play acts as a forward feed mechanism into courageous, creative, rigorous thinking in adulthood.” ~ Tina Bruce

“The very existence of youth is due in part to the necessity for play; the animal does not play because he is young, he has a period of youth because he must play.” ~ Karl Groos

“Parents who homeschool with the greatest success love to play with their children. They learn to protect children's playtime. They appreciate how much learning results from many kinds of play. Play allows the spark of creative insight to flame – a most powerful learning tool.” ~ Ann Lahrson-Fisher

“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.” ~ Roger von Oech

“Play permits the child to resolve in symbolic form unsolved problems of the past and to cope directly or symbolically with present concerns. It is also his most significant tool for preparing himself for the future and its tasks.” ~ Bruno Bettelheim

“It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.” ~ D.W. Winnicott

“Close observation of children at play suggests that they find out about the world in the same way as scientists find out about new phenomena and test new ideas…during this exploration, all the senses are used to observe and draw conclusions about objects and events through simple, if crude, scientific investigations.” ~ Judith Roden

“A child loves his play, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.” ~ Benjamin Spock

“It’s not so much what children learn through play, but what they won’t learn if we don’t give them the chance to play. Many functional skills like literacy and arithmetic can be learned either through play or through instruction – the issue is the amount of stress on the child. However, many coping skills like compassion, self-regulation, self-confidence, the habit of active engagement, and the motivation to learn and be literate cannot be instructed. They can only be learned through self-directed experience (i.e. play). ~ Susan J. Oliver

“Play builds the kind of free-and-easy, try-it-out, do-it-yourself character that our future needs.” ~ James L. Hymes Jr.

“The main characteristic of play – whether of child or adult – is not its content but its mode. Play is an approach to action, not a form of activity.” ~ Jerome Bruner

“Play is not only our creative drive; it’s a fundamental mode of learning.” ~ David Elkind

“As astronauts and space travelers children puzzle over the future; as dinosaurs and princesses they unearth the past. As weather reporters and restaurant workers they make sense of reality; as monsters and gremlins they make sense of the unreal.” ~ Gretchen Owocki

“The activities that are the easiest, cheapest, and most fun to do – such as singing, playing games, reading, storytelling, and just talking and listening – are also the best for child development.” ~ Jerome Singer

“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 Froebel

“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” ~ Abraham Maslow

“Men should learn to live with the same seriousness with which children play.” ~ Nietzsche

“The highest form of research is essentially play.” ~ N. V. Scarfe (often attributed to Albert Einstein in a slightly different form)

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Fred (Mr.) Rogers

“If we love our children and want them to thrive, we must allow them more time and opportunity to play, not less. Yet policymakers and powerful philanthropists are continuing to push us in the opposite direction — toward more schooling, more testing, more adult direction of children, and less opportunity for free play.” ~ Peter Gray

“Fun does not come in sizes” ~ Bart Simpson

“Life is playfulness…We need to play so that we can rediscover the magic all around us.” ~ Flora Colao

“Maturity consists in having rediscovered the seriousness one had as a child at play.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity.” ~ Linda Naiman

“Humans test their brand new wings and invent new possibilities using new-fangled things not with grim determination, but with play.” ~ Howard Bloom

“The I’m-going-to-win-no-matter-how-I-have-to-do-it attitude just doesn’t seem to fit. For me, a contest isn’t a success unless it was fun, whether or not I win.” ~ Margo Godfrey Oberg

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing” ~ Charles Schaefer

“Like all kids we not only fooled around with our toys, we changed them. If you’ve ever watched a child with a cardboard carton and a box of crayons create a spaceship with cool control panels, or listened to their improvised rules, such as ‘Red cars can jump all others,’ then you know that this impulse to make a toy do more is at the heart of innovative childhood play. It is also the essence of creativity.” ~ Bill Gates, talking about his first computer

“Children engage in [free] play because they enjoy it – it’s self-directed. They do not play for rewards; they enjoy the doing, not the end result. Once they get bored, they go on to do something else – and continue to learn and grow.” ~ Sheila G. Flaxman

“One might feel …that play is fine for little children, and even the best thing for them, but that after a while they must outgrow it and learn more ‘serious’ or ‘adult’ ways of learning. This would be a great mistake. The fact is that in their play children are very often doing things very much like what adults do in their work. Like the economist, the traffic engineer, the social planner, or the computer expert, children at play often make models of life or certain parts of life, models they hope are a fair, if simpler, representation of the world, so that by working these models they may attain some idea of how the world works or might work or what they might do in it.” ~ John Holt

“Children more than ever, need opportunities to be in their bodies in the world – jumping rope, bicycling, stream hopping, and fort building. It’s this engagement between limbs of the body and bones of the earth where true balance and centeredness emerge.” ~ David Sobel

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