“The capacity to experiment with surroundings as a form of problem solving” (Jenkins, 2009, p. 35).

Play begins teaching children from the time they just months old. As a mother of 21-year-old twin boys, I watched them begin discovering through play well before they were a year old. This usually came from the interaction with objects. Not just toys, this could be pots, Tupperware, brooms, or just about anything they could get their hands on. Colouring their favourite characters was another big play time activity. As they began school, this play that took place helped with the skills they would need to help them through the early years.

The play skills children need to develop today are in some ways different from those that my boys developed. Children still need to have access to play time with toys, but today they are experiencing play with electronics from the time they can hold them. We have all seen children still in buggies with handheld devices. Children are expected to use electronic skills much earlier in their education. As one mom, Megan, had this to say about this change:

“I spend a lot of time in classrooms as part of my job. If you really think we should ban handheld devices for children under 12, I hope you have spent some time in classrooms recently. Classrooms of the 21st century engage students in a variety of ways bridging technology and interactive teaching. I once witnessed a third grade class making posters about specific animals, a task many of us are familiar with. But their posters had QR codes embedded on them that would jump to a GLOG (graphics blog) they had created about each animal. Mostly, from handheld devices.”

Playing with these devices will help them to gain the skills that will be required to them once they hit school. Play will also be an important part of children’s skill development whether it is the preschool age or those in middle school playing video games. They are all developing skills that they will use at some point in the schooling.

Photo from:
 Jenkins, H (et al). “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century”. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning. The MIT Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts.
HipMomBrarian Saving the world one book at a time. 10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices, Accessed on December 6, 2015.

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