Fab Fridays 22: The Power of Play

The kinds of play that help kids develop as creative thinkers.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Greetings from Panama. I'm thrilled to share the episode I recorded with Anthony Pompliano from The Pomp Podcast!

​It's exciting because Pomp has a wide and varied audience, so I feel honored to share my views on education with such a large group. In this conversation, Pomp and I discuss what traditional education gets wrong, how to unlearn what you learned, the toxic school culture of memorization, the changing role of educators, the future of online learning, and how to raise generations of entrepreneurs, creators, and producers. Enjoy!

The Power of Play

Some parents and educators are skeptical about the connections between play and learning. They tend to associate play with laughter, fun, and having a good time. And that’s because play often involves all these things, but it’s not limited to that.

Play is more than just recreation. It's the natural way kids learn and develop. It's how they learn to understand and experience the world around them. Through play, kids develop their passions and interests, and unlock their innate creativity, imagination, and talents. Play teaches kids how to solve their own problems and interact with others. Scientists have found that free play isn’t just something kids like to do—it’s something they need to do.

Research has shown that play experiences are not only fun, but also relevant in preparing kids for future life challenges. Other findings suggest a strong correlation between the decline of play in recent years—mainly due to compulsory schooling and overscheduling of adult-led activities—and the increase of anxiety and depression in younger kids.

Here's the thing: 50 years ago, school wasn’t the big deal it is today. The school year and school days were shorter, and in Elementary School, 2hrs/day were reserved for play. Homework was unheard of, and adult-led activities weren’t as popular, so when kids finished school, they went home and had plenty of time to play.

We need to find ways to bring more play into kids' lives. But we also need to engage kids in the right kinds of play that will help them develop as creative thinkers.

Play is the way kids learn. But different kinds of play lead to different kinds of learning.​

We use the word play in many ways:

We play songs. We play sports. We play games. We play with toys. We play the odds. We play with ideas. We play the stock market. We play musical instruments.

With so many different types of play, no wonder the Danish have 2 different words for play: one that describes play under a defined structure (“spille”) and another that describes an imaginative and open-ended kind of play (“lege”).

If our goal is to help kids become creative thinkers, we must emphasize lege over spille.

How can parents and educators encourage lege? TUNE IN BELOW!

In this week’s Show & Tell episode, David and I discuss:

  • The connections between play and learning

  • How different types of play lead to different kinds of learning

  • The kinds of play that help kids develop as creative thinkers

  • Opportunities for creative play using technology

  • The need to bring more play into kids lives

Hope you enjoy the episode!

Until next week,

Ana Lorena Fabrega