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"Why Should I Play with my Kids?

I found an article titled "Why Should I Play with My Kids? by Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC (check your pop-up window prevention settings before opening links). It begins:
"My son came running around the corner of the house. It was just as I had hoped. I gave a wild, primitive yell as I sprang out at him. He hit the ground quickly, trying to avoid my grasp. I reached down and tagged him easily, and the burden of being "it" was transferred once again.

"As I searched for a new hiding place in front of the house, my wife called from the front door. "Mark, it's eight o'clock, the kids have to come in!"

"I was a bit dumbfounded. We'd been playing tag for two hours.

"In those two hours, I'd been unaware of time. There were no worries about projects at work, what time the kids needed to go to bed, or whether we had enough money to last the month. My focus had been on playing tag, and nothing else. And when your focus is complete, you've entered a state that has no limitations. Your joy and passion can come alive, and your children's can, too."
...and concludes:

"Research has shown that kids laugh about one hundred times a day, and adults laugh about six times. Our kids are showing us something. Isn't it time we started learning how to be playful again?"

And the neat thing is, we know exactly where we can find the best teachers.

Learning about play - from children

There are two kinds of Childhood Truths, and one of them is eternally true, true as any other kind of truth, adult or divine.

It's that kind, the childhood kind that are true forever, that form the basis for Deep Fun.

It's the kind of truth that was taught to me, when I was a child, addressing my Inner Adult. Truths I promised to remember and defend with a maturity of purpose beyond my years.

I wrote a little article about it. About the a certain kind of truth we learn as children - I guess you'd call it a "youth truth" - that is eternally true. True beyond childhood. Beyond adulthood even. True unto death.

This is the first time I've said anything about my work having anything to do with children, publicly, at least. My life in games has focused heavily and fairly consistently on adults. Yea, the very formation of the Games Preserve and my involvement with organizations like the New Games Foundation and institutions like the Esalen Institute, have all been firmly rooted in play as something for adults to do together, with each other - something true, and meaningful, and empowering, and loving, and safe and often hilarious. And all that time, I've had to struggle against the notion that what I'm doing and asking other people to do is, well childish. From my perspective, Deep Fun has always been a profoundly adult experience.

But, the fact is, that what I've learned about play I learned mostly when I was a child, addressing my Inner Adult while my Outer Child was busy at play. Eternal truths of eternal youth, true beyond all the untruths and half truths of childhood. And as an adult who plays with other adults in most adult-like manners - professionally, even - it was one of the last things I wanted to admit, that all this is based on, rooted in, what I've been able to learn from children.

But today, when I looked at the Deep Fun site, and at Junkyard Sports and at Major Fun, the truth was unavoidable. All the truths about play and life that I teach as an adult, I learned as a child and learn still from children. And what I have best learned as an adult, is how to teach them to other adults.

"Learning from Children." It's what I've done, been doing. Learning from Children about play. And the people I've been touched most deeply by are those very people who also learn from children, from childhood. Which led me to one of the most giggly Googles I've ever experienced, to find suddenly how connected my work in play has been, to so many disciplines, and to people who write articles like these:
Learning From Children "Spend time with children. Learn more about laughter, spontaneity, curiosity, acceptance, resilience, trust, determination, and your imagination. They are here to teach us!"

Being Playful - learning from children - Check out this wonderful abstract: "This paper explores children's understanding as a resource and inspiration for interface design and beyond. From children we can understand innate intelligences and skills, including a sense of number and the nature of play. Play is possibly one of the origins of imagination, which in turn is essential for our own creative thought. Surprisingly few adults engage in creative play, but it is when adult-like rationality and child-like imagination meet that we can best produce effective and innovative solutions. Even writing a paper has aspects of playfulness, such as the puzzle of phrasing an abstract in exactly one hundred words... or so"

TEACHING THE WAY CHILDREN LEARN "Constructivist classrooms operate on the premise that learning in school need not, and should not, be different from the many rich natural forms of learning that students have experienced before they have ever entered the corridors of a school. "

Museums and the Web 2004 : Papers : Neal & Van Wormer, Making Learning Fun ... "When fun is overemphasized, children focus more on the gaming and little learning results. The optimal educational impact is achieved when learning becomes fun."

If you or someone you know or work with is ready to bring fun back into his or her life, Bernie is available by phone and email for personal coaching. Click Contact for more information on how to reach him.

Loving Fun

The Well-Played Game
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