"Birds fly, fish swim, and children play" Gary Landreth
I’ve been thinking about my own childhood recently as I have been setting up my new private practice office and being picky about the toys and games I bring into the space. As a Child Mental Health specialist, I get to use toys, games, dress up and arts and crafts as my way to connect with children of all ages. You might thing this means any toy is welcome at the party. Actually, there is a lot of research about how to select toys and materials for the play space. In fact, our guru in play therapy, Gary Landreth, says “Toys and materials should be selected, not collected.” Each toy serves an important role in the work we do and we choose things with intention. Sometimes it feels like more is better, but the right kinds of toys are what is most important.
I have so many fond memories about playing- with my sisters, parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. Below you’ll find a link to an infographic on all the different types of play. I love board games and card games, coloring and crafts, dress up and nerf wars and most things in between. I’m so thankful that growing up my parents taught us how to have fun and to play independently as well as with other people. There are those who struggle with how to play and interact with their kiddos. That’s totally okay and something we can work on in counseling.
As you think about your own family- what memories come to mid of playing? Do you avoid the game Uno because your sister used to always beat you? Do you have to be the one to shuffle the cards because your baby sister was always too slow and it infuriated you to have to wait? Did you ask your grandma to get you a treat and a drink so you could peek under the glass of the coffee table to memorize all the memory cards? No? Hmm, must just be me :)
Feel free to comment below about your own memories or favorites. And as always, if play doesn’t come naturally to you, let us help.