slice of life: plans for play

I made a wide turn to enter my driveway, avoiding the GMC 4×4 truck to find an abandoned bike and scooter. The owners are two houses down, oblivious to my car and the possible destruction of their toys. There is ample room, so I maneuver around and park. This is my neighborhood.

I’m surrounded by little ones on wheels. They scoot and bike up and down the street. I overlook their helmetless status, their scattering of toys, and am grateful. They are lean and agile. Doing exactly what kids should be doing. Playing.

While I get my online learning ready for tomorrow, I hear wailing. Then, Dad appears to pick up, dust off, and kiss a scrape. Not long after, there are screams of play that echo through our house.  This goes on until dark.

It’s an idyllic scene. Kids run free with an adult nearby to help out if there is a problem. This is not the scenario for many families.  Schools, sports teams, afterschool programs provide this kind of adult-supervised play for many of my students. Now, these outlets are being shuttered. No practices, no games, no play. More than the academic loss of school closings, I worry about the impact of losing playtime.

So as I pull together academic opportunities for my home-bound kiddos, I’m looking for ways to encourage play. Kinderart projects don’t require many supplies and have easy to follow directions. Jarrett Lerner’s blog activities will be perfect for my cartoon-loving students. And of course, there is Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Poetry Farm, who is providing daily inspiration so we can play in our notebooks.

In times like these, our kiddos and we need to find ways to play on.