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Why the Winner Is Play

Diana Kander makes the point that since the 1980s our country has seen an explosion in programs that teach people how to innovate. Yet during the same period, the overall number of start-ups decreased and the number of business failures increased.

She asserts that the educational experience itself is to blame. Consider the Marshmallow Design Challenge. MBA teams make assumptions, devise plans, and confidentially move forward. Yet the plans fail. How often does this happen? Consistently. What does this say about the way the students are being trained?

Innovation requires more than a plan. Experimenting and testing determine what works and what doesn’t. Once a workable solution is found, collaboration refines the product and often expands its usefulness, as we learned from the inventor of MUTT.

Albert Einstein believed “play is the highest form of research.” Play is essential. Children learn when playing. When schools eliminate play, they’re ignoring sound research demonstrating how children learn best. And they’re denying children opportunities for learning. Such an approach to teaching children is dead wrong.

Play is essential to learning. As the Marshmallow Design Challenge demonstrates, play is a key component of creative thinking and problem solving. Yet, Valerie Strauss reports on how schools are Robbing Kindergartners of Play in the Name of Reform in her column “The Answer Sheet” in The Washington Post. Such a theft is a crime against our children and our future. Finding solutions to complex problems requires creative thinkers, problem solvers who collaborate to find multiple solutions.

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Play Is Essential

PlayopolisToys is an inclusive place where all citizens of play, children and children at heart, including those with special needs, find engaging toys that delight the senses, invite exploration and discovery, and build skills. We’ve created a Pinterest board, Play is Essential, brimming with quotes, research, even two videos that support this belief.

When speaking of play, we’re referring to open-ended experiences emerging naturally from a child’s interest. It’s self directed, non-scripted, and creative. When children become engaged in play and are allowed time and space to “take it to the limit,” they grow their minds and their bodies, becoming creative and imaginative problem solvers. They develop cognitive, language, emotional, and social competencies as well as fine and gross motor skills. And they enjoy the process. They’re excited about what they’ve learned and eager to learn more.

Children delight in play and learn through play. They learn because they play. Childhood is a time of exploration and discovery, figuring out how the world works, and acquiring skills. The best play occurs when children have opportunity to assess possibilities and decide what to do. Freedom to choose allows children to pursue personal interests. Excited by possibilities, they delve deeper, become more involved, and gain insight and knowledge.

Provide opportunities. Observe. You’ll be amazed.

quote from Plato

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play