The Importance of FUN and PLAY
by Stephanie Bierman,
Director of Program Development;
Curriculum and Resource Writer
While the Choose Love Movement and Program have a large focus on Choosing Love, we also have 5 words that our movement and program are grounded in which are, “Have A Lot of FUN!”.
These words are important in more ways than one. They are particularly special and meaningful because they are the words of Jesse Lewis. Jesse left a note for his older brother, JT, before he died. JT found the small, crumpled piece of paper in his room with these words from Jesse and found much comfort in this special message that was left for him. It reminded him all at once, that he could and should move beyond the grief, that Jesse wanted him to never forget to “Have A Lot of Fun”, without him but also for him. Only 5 words that say so much. Truth is, we shouldn’t forget to carry out Jesse’s message….to savor every moment, have Fun, be joyful for Jesse and for so many others who can’t.
There are other reasons to have Fun, too! We often associate having Fun with Play. A life without Play is very dull….without Play, there is no Fun. Play is spontaneous and unhindered and allows one to feel at once free, joyful, and carefree! The definition of Play is any activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, rather than any serious or practical purpose. But while Play can seem frivolous, the benefits of play are tremendous. Play is considered so critical to a child’s development that it is recognized by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a fundamental human right of every child. Playfulness has been associated with many positive behaviors/traits including: creativity, optimism, cooperation, problem solving, flexibility, empathy, productivity, sociability, altruism, stress management, and connectivity to name a few.
Children learn through Play. In fact, Play and learning go hand and hand as Play can be seen as a child’s lab. Through Play our cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development are increased and enhanced. Play is a strong predictor of health and well-being. It offers the best conditions to prepare children to handle life’s challenges. Play is really key and vital to a healthy and happy life for us all! Jesse was really onto something when he said, “Have A Lot of FUN”.