“Such is the context for understanding well-meaning folks (like me) whose lamentations about diminishing opportunities for play tend to include a defensive list of its practical benefits. Play is “children’s work!” Play teaches academic skills, advances language development, promotes perspective taking, conflict resolution, the capacity for planning, and so on. To drive the point home, Deborah Meier wryly suggested that we stop using the word play altogether and declare that children need time for “self-initiated cognitive activity.””
“Kids need careful adult guidance and instruction before they are able to play in a productive way.”
“The point of play is that it has no point. I didn’t know whether to laugh or shudder when I read this sentence in a national magazine: “Kids need careful adult guidance and instruction before they are able to play in a productive way.” But I will admit that I, too, sometimes catch myself trying to justify play in terms of its usefulness.”
Through ‘self-initiated cognitive activity’ we become human.