If you want to learn, create time to play

Moment of truth

Graduation is slowly approaching, and I am drained. I have been sprinting these past four years trying to reach something that will make Little Emily proud. I’ve always had very high expectations for myself. I want to be successful, but I also want to do something that creates impact.

The industry that I am currently embracing is very competitive. To be honest, I am not a competitive person. I want everyone to be a winner. I want everyone to be successful. But don’t get my lack of a competitive attitude confused with a lack of motivation. I will be successful. I will accomplish something great. I am just going to cheer everyone else on while I am finishing this sprint.

But do we have to sprint all the time?

Lately, I have been integrating the idea of minimalism in all aspects of my life. I cleaned out my closet, I cleared off my desktop, and most importantly, I cut down my schedule.

For as long as I can remember, I have been over busy. The idea of “free time” meant I would fall behind in my sprint. But the truth of the matter is that I NEED free time. I need time to play. In fact, there have been countless examples that support a correlation between success, creativity, and play.

See more images like this on the Playworks website

For example…

Two of my favorite organizations that encourage the idea of play are the Playworks organization and the Outdoor Classroom Project. The Playworks organization is a non-profit that believes in the importance of recess, while the Outdoor Classroom Project believes in getting kids outside. Both are very similar in theory, but Playworks focuses on games and activities while the Outdoor Classroom Project focuses on exploring nature. Both are important.

I definitely took this sensory play/learning center activity from Four Cheeky Monkey’s.

Other classroom success stories are demonstrated through learning centors, sensory play, and emphasizing the arts. These are the things that help students grow, but unfortunately, these are the areas that often get pushed aside.

We don’t have to sprint

By cutting down my schedule, I have been able to focus more on play. I go outside every day, enjoy time with my friends, and spend time alone so that I can reflect.

When I do sit down to do homework, my mind feels clear. It really is a fact: taking time to play is never a waste. Downsizing my life does not mean that I am not trying anymore, it just means that I am only trying the things that are important.

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 8.44.34 PM
Exploring with my two-year-old.

Lesson learned

I am embracing simplicity with the kids that I babysit. When I am with them, we play. We explore. We move at a really (really) slow pace. We look around. If my two-year-old wants to spend 10 minutes studying gravel, then we study gravel for 10 minutes. If my six- year- old aks to read the same book over and over, then we read it three times (this is also because she wants to pass her AR test). If my three- year-old wants to play dress up…. well, then we wait for her mom to get home (a girl can only change outfits so many times before she gets stressed). But still, I love that my kids love to live life slowly. It is a lesson that I teach my kids, and it is a lesson my kids teach me.

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