My son doesn’t really like swimming. I made him take 2 sessions of swimming lessons, because we have family who own a house at a lake, and I wanted him to be prepared to enjoy those visits and be safe from drowning. The lessons were stressful for him, and he didn’t get past the first level class after taking 2 sessions of them.
When we visited our family at their lake house and I saw something amazing happen. His two cousins swim well enough to not wear life jackets while jumping off the dock and paddling around in little inflatable boats.
We were all visiting at a nearby dock with a family of 4 other kids, and my son chose to sit on a large inflatable ring with a stretchy center. This enabled him to avoid getting into the water, but still be out with the other kids. His life jacket on and all the fun going on around him, he was still avoiding actually swimming. Then, quick as a blink, another boy jumped onto the same inflatable and bounced my son right into the water! He bounced off into the water as well and squealed with delight. My son could have freaked out, but among all those kids having fun in the water, he didn’t seem to mind, and was excited to tell me about it!What I saw was a new level of confidence and comfort with getting into the water to swim from playing with other kids. He wasn’t in the classroom setting of swim class, and that helped him get excited about playing in the water.
Now, we didn’t visit long enough to make bigger strides in his swimming skills, but I learned something new: playing is a powerful form of learning.
There are many things we can learn from child’s play, here are 3 of them:
- Try something new, something you admire others doing: all kids look up to older kids and try to emulate them until they learn the same skills.
- Keep trying: kids learn to walk after falling down hundreds of thousands of times! Sometimes we adults are afraid of failure and that keeps us from learning something new
- Make Play a part of your life: how many of us run around playing tag or roll down a grassy hill these days? Children love playing together and as a result learn from each other.
- So, go play soccer for the first time with friends and don’t worry about your skill level, you will only get better the longer you play!Even if you don’t have kids, you can learn a lot from child’s play. Don’t know how to get more playtime in your busy schedule? How about start by thinking about what you loved when you were 10 years old. Was it drawing? Baseball? Roller skating? Give yourself 30 minutes (or more) this week and go play like your 10-year-old self!
Holli Margell, Editor