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Play is Essential in Pandemic Healing
November 23, 2021
If I had to make a general rule for living and working with children, it might be this: Be wary of saying or doing anything to a child that you would not do to another adult, whose good opinion and affection you valued.
-John Holt

“As the world re-opens, it is more important than ever to help children disconnect from the virtual world and reconnect with the real one. In addition, children need an opportunity to heal from a year of collective loss and grief. For children, play is vital to social and emotional wellbeing,” wrote Konstantin Lukin, PhD in an article in Psychology Today.

Karen Stephens, in an article that provides the basis for an Out of the Box Training, “Sparking Imaginations,” explains how important it is to understand authentic play:

“It’s very important to distinguish the type of play that nurtures…positive development. It’s not just any type of child activity that does it. For instance, some may call it ‘play’ when a child follows a teacher’s step by step directions during a craft project. It might be a hands-on learning experience, but different from the types of authentic play researchers have concluded is most critical to early development.”

Stephens offers eleven characteristics of authentic play. Here is a sampling:

“Authentic, beneficial children’s play is:

  • pleasurable and enjoyable, voluntary, and self-initiated;
  • self-sustaining without needing rewards, coercion, or reinforcement from others;
  • spontaneous and flexible, involving fluid problem-solving that doesn’t have one right answer and may include multiple or changing solutions;
  • not directed, dictated, regulated, formatted, or structured by a parent, supervising adult or teacher.”




Out of the Box Training

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Out of the Box Training Kits are ready-to-use professional development programs on a variety of contemporary topics to support and improve the skills and pedagogy of those who work with young children.



May not be combined with any other offer. Not applicable on past purchases. Sale expires November 24, 2021, at 11:59 pm PST.

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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
Shoshanah Findling · November 23, 2021
Touro College Graduate School of Education
Valley Stream, NY, United States


I believe the same can be said for adults. A lot of us feel numb, drained or even traumatized by the last 18 months of the pandemic. It reminds me of Odyseus and the Island of Lotus eaters. We lost a part of ourselves and don't even realize what we are missing. Finding that spark or reawakening the motivation to join the "in person world" calls for courage, creativity and connection. All things that bring joy and affection will help us heal.



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