Time to Play

Evidence of playful learning right here at the DMA!

Last week I participated in a staff training workshop about nurturing children’s creativity. For two and a half days, we talked about how our minds work, how success in the real world is no longer simply about being able to read and write, and how many ways there are to be creative. We played with mixing paint colors, we made our own musical instruments, we played a funny game of charades, and we made up stories. I haven’t played that much in a long time!

Another event last week—I participated in UT Dallas’ first ever Center for Children & Families Forum…and it was all about play. The keynote speaker was Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek from Temple University, who recently published A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool. So you could say I’ve been swept up in a perfect storm of play. And what have I learned?

WE NEED TO PLAY! All of us do—adults and children alike. Play ignites our creativity, helps us better understand the people around us, provides an opportunity to imagine, and is fun. Did you know the United Nations has even declared that every child has the right to play? (The UN Convention on the Rights for Children, Article 31 states “that every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”)

Did you notice that play, cultural life, and the arts were all mentioned in the same breath? I think that’s pretty amazing. And I think that the Dallas Museum of Art is a great place for playful learning. No you can’t run up and down the hall, or climb on top of a sculpture, or play hide and seek among the paintings. But you CAN:

  • make up stories for what you see in a work of art
  • pretend to be a work of art (sort of like Freeze Tag)
  • sketch something at the museum that catches your eye
  • make up a song to go along with your favorite work of art
  • build a tower with cardboard boxes in the Young Learners Gallery
  • play with animal puppets in Arturo’s Nest
  • and whatever else your imagination comes up with

Ok, I’m climbing off my soap box now. Have a playful week!

Posted by: Leah

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