Want to know what your children are thinking (Don’t we all)? If so, just watch them play. Play is like a window to your child’s inner thoughts and feelings. Whether kids are happy, stressed or sad, these feelings will often come out in play behavior.
When they play school, are they mean and bullying, or sweet and comforting? Chances are you are getting a glimpse of their classroom from their eyes. And watch out when they play house, because they will more than likely be mimicking you! The salty words we think they don’t hear often spill out during play. And the phrases we use over and over which they seem to ignore (use your fork, use your fork, use your fooooork!)? They’ve actually got them memorized, down to the tone of voice!
Play is more than amusement for kids. They use play time to work out issues in their world, to practice grown-up roles, to experiment with relationships and to express inner feelings that they might have trouble talking about.
Watching kids play creatively can be especially enlightening. Constantly drawing birds, flowers and butterflies? You may have a budding naturalist on your hands. Prefers to build with blocks? Maybe a future architect. When kids play creatively they are exploring their own talents and interests.
Watching kids play is a valuable way to see the world the way they see it. And what is more fun for grown ups that to watch the kids we love play?